Dabo previews Louisville

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney previews the first-ever matchup between Clemson and Louisville.

Opening statement...
Swinney: This is our breast cancer awareness game. Excited to be a part of that.

This is a very good team coming in here. This is going to be a very big challenge. No doubt about that. They play with a lot of confidence. They've had a bunch of big wins and they have a bunch of veteran guys who have been a part of some big games. Good team.

Offensively, they want to run the football. They have four backs who are big and strong and want to force the issues. We've got to do a great job at the point of attack and are gap strong. You have to tackle well. When you play a team that's really committed to running the football, you have to be disciplined from a play-action standpoint. They get guys open and create one-on-one's. Their offensive line is as good as we've seen. Bunch of veterans. Four starters back. They flip their guys which is not something you see a lot. They will flip them - left tackle and left guard will go to right tackle and right guard. Big, strong physical guys. Tight end is very athletic. He can run and has good size. They involve him a lot in the passing game.

Receivers are very talented. Quick had an excellent year last year. Great returner too. The big question is whether or not Parker is going to be back. Guy has 28 touchdowns in his career and 12 last year. He's a great wide out. Sounds like he's going to play. He's a big-time weapon who they have not had at this point.

Freshman at quarterback went the distance last week at Syracuse. We expect both quarterbacks to play and both are very good.

Biggest word to describe their defense is aggressive. Very aggressive. They were No. 1 in the nation last year defensively. And they are No. 1 this year. Very salty. Fast. Athletic long guys. No. 55 is one of the top sackers in the country throughout his career. No. 94 will come off the edge, up the middle and they'll move him around. They create confusion as far as where their pressure is coming from. They do an excellent job on the back end. It's the most aggressive secondary we've played. Their safeties really want to be involved.

This is a heckuva team. It shows up on tape when you watch them.

It's going to be another great day in The Valley. The crowds have been great. 3:30 kick. That's kind of the chamber of commerce kick. Surprises me we've got 200 tickets left - surely we can get those last few gobbled up. Looking forward to a very big challenge. Our guys had a good practice yesterday and we just need to continue to improve.

Would you go through where you are with your offensive line?
Swinney: We don't have enough time. We are Chinese fire drill. We talked about it as a staff Sunday. The neat part of it is they have forced us out of a comfort zone as a coaching staff. This by far the most versatility we've had in the offensive line. Kalon Davis is going to make some money. He's playing great and he's played everything. Only thing he hasn't done is snap the football. Guys have taken ownership. They know we have to crosstrain. Reid Webster has played everywhere and he's got to be the second center. We have to be creative on how we split our reps in practice. Practice can be a challenge. We are working Tyrone Crowder and Spencer Region some at center. He kind of had a center tryout yesterday. Being creative in practice is the challenge for us. Left tackle we've got Battle, Kalon and Reid and MacLain. The good news we are going to get Gore back and Guillermo back as well.

With Louisville's aggression on defense, does that concern you more about your offensive line?
Swinney: You are always concerned when you play a really good defense. Statistically this is the best defense in the country. We've played five games and we have some guys with some good experience up front. I really see us starting to gel as a group. We don't have a lot of hands on deck, but I like the guys we've got.

Why does it take so long to build a quality offensive line?
Swinney: It's the hardest position to play. You are blocking the Vic Beasley's and Corey Crawford's of the world. That's a challenge physically. Mentally it's the toughest position to play early. It's all the things you have to do. It's not like you are learning just one spot. Your job depends on this guy and this guy and this guy. It's blitz pickup. It's structures of defense. It's not rocket science though. It just takes a little time to be able to put it all together. If you hesitate at all, you're in trouble. There's so much that goes - pad level and footwork. So that's just the way it is. I've been around very few freshmen who are great linemen.

Describe the play of your defense and how it's been so far this season.
Swinney: They are playing with a lot of confidence. This is the most complete defense we've had around here in a long long time. Guys are taking pride in attention to details. Last we finished the game, No. 1. And we didn't give up the charity either. I thought we were very disciplined last week. We are becoming more disciplined in what we are doing and we are preparing the right way. That's the strength of our team.

Do you watch film of Georgia's defense from last year because that's where Todd Grantham came from?
Swinney: It's different. They've played six games. Openers are always the hardest game because you haven't see their personnel. You have to sift though that. This is different because you can see who they are and who their personnel is and what they are committed

Do you watch film of Louisville from last year? How different are they?
Swinney: Oh yeah. Not a lot different to be honest with you because they have a lot of guys back. Grantham is a true 3-4 guy. That's what he does. They are an attack defense. In your face.

Coach Petrino said Syracuse was as about as loud of an environment as what he expects to hear here in Death Valley. What are your thoughts on that?
Swinney: Well it was loud up there for a little while. We kind of hit some big plays early and that changed. We think we have a great environment here for sure. They've played in some big environment. I hope we sell those 200 tickets I know that. I know that we'll have a special environment here.

Do you remember the first time you saw Deshaun Watson?
Swinney: High school tape. As a freshman. Then in person when he came to camp. You knew immediately that he was special. Then just meeting him with the type of kid he was. How he handled himself. He was the best guy in camp as ninth grader. Then in February he called me up and committed to me. He had the weight of the world on him recruiting. For two years he had to withstand all the reasons in the world not to come to Clemson. We were the target. He is a special guy. He's a lot like Sammy as far as the recruiting process.

Do hear the chatter about what if you would have started Deshaun Watson all season?
Swinney: Well I don't deal in hypotheticals... when it comes to starting you you have to go through a process. We needed to see him in a game. During spring we saw No. 4 and knew that the potential was there for him to be very special. Hindsight is always 20-20 but seeing him in that Georgia game. Hmm. Ok. Stage wasn't too big for him. Played well against S.C. State and then Florida State just kinda took off. But I don't sit around and play hypothetical. I worry about the windshield and what's in front.

Can you see Deshaun being one of those three-year players, where you shake his hand afterwards and tell him good luck (in the NFL)?
Swinney: Let's just see if we can win a few games first. Lord have mercy. Let's give it some time. I mean, man, he hasn't even passed freshman biology yet. He's got a lot of decisions on and off the field to make. Hope I'm here.

What kind of transformation have you seen out of Mike Williams?
Swinney: Well he's responded. I was disappointed with him in camp. Lazy with his opportunity. Not a real sense of urgency. Last year that was there because Martavis was here. Mike was tremendous. So we came into thing expecting him to be great. I didn't see it in fall camp. And he knows. He was coached really hard during fall camp. Then we shifted Charone over there because he can play anywhere and then he started to get better. He started to respond. We sat down and had a few conversations and then the light started to come on and now we've all seen the results.

Injury updates on Cole, Tony and Charone and also Ben Boulware?
Swinney: Cole is doing good. It's his left shoulder. Everything is good. Tony is day-to-day. Probably more of a mental practice. We are hopeful he will be ready to go on Saturday. Speaking of Tony, he probably played his best game on Saturday. And Charone - they re-evaluated him. We are hopeful. His ligaments are great. We did another MRI, he's got some kind of fluid around there. It's something that's common. They think it's being triggered by something that doesn't have anything to do with his knee. It's kind of like Spiller. We had to maintain Spiller his senior year. Hopefully it doesn't get inflamed again. And Joe Gore- he's progressing well. Back in meetings. I'm going to wait until Sunday to see where he is at he end of the week. We hope it's sooner rather than later. Ben Boulware is doing really well. They felt really good on Sunday. We'll hold him out today. I'm hopeful for him. Tyshon Dye was back in practice yesterday. We are going to keep him green. He's doing ball-handling. It was good to see him out there too.

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