ACC Teleconference: Dabo Swinney

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks with the ACC media about a variety of subjects.

What did you learn as you guys tried to move past that and look ahead to this week?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, first of all, we're good enough. We've got a talented team. I mean, we're good enough to win in any environment against any team out there, I really believe that.

I was very encouraged by a lot of things that I saw. The score in the end wasn't indicative of the game but I think we learned a lot about the team. We certainly didn't deserve to win but for an opening game, openers are tough and they are really, really tough when you play very good people, especially at their place.

But I think that the mistakes that we made are very correctable. I think seeing our quarterback go out and perform like he did, it was very encouraging. I saw some very positive things in our offensive line. Same thing defensively. We played very well for three quarters. Did not put it all together in that fourth quarter, that's for sure.

And then a guy like T.J. Green and our special teams, our return game, I was very encouraged with him. And again, the mistakes that we made, there's nothing that's not correctable, and nothing that I came away from the game saying, oh, boy, we got major problems. Bottom line is, we got beat by a really good team at their place in a tough opening situation. But that's okay. I mean, hey, we are going to play games like that, and there's always going to be a winner or a loser. It's one game; we've got a lot more opportunities, and if we grow and learn from that game, I think we have a chance to be a really good football team. But the biggest thing is, you think you're good enough, but until you really see yourself line up and play -- I know that we are good enough to be the type of team that I expect us to be.

Curious about the circumstances Deshaun Watson got in the game, was that a planned thing, and what's his prospects going forward?
COACH SWINNEY: Yeah, it was very much a plan. It was something we talked about all week leading up to the game. He was definitely a guy that we were going to get in there. He came in the fourth series, did a great job, a really good job. Took us down and we scored and then he got a couple more series in the game. Cole really played well. He had about two or three plays he'd like to have back, but I really, really like how he led our team and the decisions that he made. Had some missed opportunities where he had some drops where he absolutely threw a beautiful ball and made the right decision, so those are things we have to get corrected. Really encouraged.

And Deshaun Watson is a guy that he just is very gifted and he's just going to continue to get better. He's a guy we'll continue to have in the mix but Cole Stoudt is our definite starter. Not a question of that at all, but we don't have anybody with experience behind him and we're building for this year and for our future; and making sure that Deshaun gets some opportunity, as well, as long as he plays well. If he goes in there and he's stinking it up, then those opportunities will be fewer. But as long as he performs well, he'll continue to get some opportunity.

How is the maturity of your quarterback after the tough loss to Georgia?
COACH SWINNEY: Next game. He's great. Just what you expect your leader to be like. It's one game. Heck, if you go and pout after one game, you're going to be in for a long, long career and a long season. But Cole Stoudt has been around here, been through a lot of battles and very mature young man. He's done a great job. And again, he played very well, he really did. He played very, very well in a very tough opening environment for a first-time starter. I was very pleased with him. So he's encouraged. He's excited about getting back out on the field and trying to lead his team to victory. That's all he's worried about.

Wanted to ask you about the running game with Davidson and Howard, not a ton of yards on their side but both got in the end zone. What did you take away from how they played the first game and what you see going forward?
COACH SWINNEY: They did a good job. We really ran the ball up-and-down the field the first half. We were pretty encouraged. In fact, I think going into the fourth quarter, even with our mistakes in the third quarter, we still had more rushing than Georgia did at the start of the fourth quarter. But the first half, just very encouraged by how we executed the running game. That was a big emphasis for us.

All of a sudden in the second half, and they really didn't do anything different. We just started and we just had a rash of just mental errors and missed assignments and really affected everything. We'd be second and five, have a missed assignment and then it's third-and-long, and then field position was difficult.

But just from a player evaluation standpoint, I thought D.J. did a nice job for us and C.J. was probably the most productive and we got Gallman a little bit in there and see how he responded. Just weren't quite ready to throw him out there as the game progressed.

But Wayne Gallman and Adam Choice are wo guys you're going to see a lot more of as we move forward. But I think all four of those guys are going to be quality guys for us this year and guys that we're going to need to get production from each and every week.

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