Dabo previews Georgia Tech

CLEMSON - Dabo Swinney looks ahead to this weekend's game against Georgia Tech.

Opening Statement
Swinney: First of all, I just want to wish all of our veterans a happy veterans day. We probably have some in here today. We want to wish you all a great day and thank you for allowing us to have the opportunity to do what we do. It is something we take for granted in this country all the time, just the freedoms that we have and the price that has been paid for that freedom. “ I just want to thank all of our veterans and Daniel Rodriguez who is one of our very own on this football team. (Rodriguez won the Armed Forces Merit Award from the Football Writers Association of America on Tuesday.) “We have a big challenge this week. We are playing Georgia Tech and that is always a very tough opponent. You can go back forever in Clemson history and Clemson versus Georgia Tech has always been a great game. It has always been a very tough opponent for both sides.

“Offensively, they are really playing well and they are flying at a high level. They are doing a great job of executing. They are averaging six yards a carry, 335 rushing a game and 38 points a game. They are a huge challenge for our defense obviously. “The biggest thing when you look at them this year is that their quarterback is playing lights out. He is playing at a high level and the things that jump out at me are that they have done a great job establishing the dive play. They have almost 1400 yards rushing between the two main guys that have been playing there.

“They have done a great job of establishing the dive play and the other thing that jumps out at me is that their receiver is the leading scorer on the team. That has not been the case in the past. They have done a great job in the passing game. “This quarterback has done an excellent job of throwing the football. He has made some big, timely throws in fourth-down conversions. “ I am very impressed with how they are executing offensively. Synjyn Days (#10) is averaging 6.2 a carry. #9 (Tony Zenon), #31 (Deon Hill) and #21 (Charles Perkins) are all averaging great stats as far as their rushing stats.

“Zenon is averaging 21 yards a catch to go with it. He does not have a lot of catches, but when he does it is a big play. When you talk about their passing game, they are averaging right at 20 yards a completion. That is huge. Smelter (#15) is at 22 yards a catch and #88 (Darren Waller) is averaging 18 yards a catch. They are hitting on a bunch of big play,s but it all starts with being able to run the football and the decision making by the quarterback. We have a big challenge there.

“Obviously, you have to win the line of scrimmage. What they do is all about angles and we have to defeat blocks and stay on our feet. That is critical. This is a game where everybody does not need to get bored of doing their job over and over. Otherwise, it is a big play. “We have to do a great job of leveraging the ball from the outside. Our secondary guys need to stay disciplined and work with all that type of stuff that comes off their run game from a play-action standpoint. “First down and third down are critical because they basically have a four-down mentality pretty much the whole ball game. That is just how they play. They are a big challenge. Hopefully we can play our best game 1 –November 11, 2014 there.

“Defensively for them, they are a bunch of juniors and seniors. They have some good experience over there. I think they are very knowledgeable as far as what they are doing. They have done a great job at creating turnovers. I think they have 10 turnovers just in the last three ball games alone. “They have scored on defense. Just this past week, they created huge scoring opportunities defensively, and I think that Ted Roof does a good job at putting them in position form a coverage standpoint. They do a great job of mixing their coverage’s.

“They do a good job with pressures. They are well-coached football team. Then with special teams, #4 is one of the best in the league as a punt returner/kick returner. This is a big challenge for us. We are looking forward to going down to Atlanta and we will need to play well.

Is it realistic to expect Deshaun Watson to just literally pick up where he left off or has it been that long to think he may be a little behind?
Swinney: “I hope he picks up better than where he left off (three possessions and just five yards vs. Louisville before being injured). “He thought we had a touchdown call (against Louisville) and he ended up throwing it to the back because he could not feel his hand so he threw the ball to get rid of it and came out. “This is not his first time to play. He has played. There is not near as many unknowns with him for us as there was at the start of the season when he had not played a game. He has played on the road in front of a hostile crowd (Georgia and Florida State).

“He has been in difficult situations. The biggest thing with Deshaun is he has done a great job as far as totally staying engaged in the game planning process, what is happening at practice, and being very dialed in and focused mentally at games. “He has made good suggestions during the game. Mentally, he is ready to go and physically, as far as how he is going to play, I don’t know. I think he is going to play well. He practices well.

Is Ryan Norton getting closer to returning to that edge?
Swinney: “I thought he played very well last week. I was proud of Ryan. Sometimes, that sideline will motivate you a little bit. Obviously, Jay Guillermo has been out and he has not had quite the competition at that position. “For whatever reason, he was not playing quite to his standard for a couple games there. Ryan has been a pretty dependable guy around here. It was good to see him get back last week and he did some good things. He played with the edge we were looking for. “ It is good to have Jay Guillermo back. I think we will know more after Wednesday’s practice. He is a little different because he is a 300 plus pounder. It is different than a Gary Peters or someone like that who had the same injury as far as coming back.

Two years after the Georgia Tech Game, Coach Venables. said “Thank goodness that is over.” Does that kind of sum up this week with what they do?”
Swinney: “It is tough because you just don’t see their offense much. It is kind of a season of its own from a defensive standpoint. We work on it all year. It is something that we do in the spring, at fall camps and in the open dates. We try to keep it out there in front of our guys because there is just not really any carryover. “Offensively, pretty much every week there is always some kind of carryover. Very rarely do you say nothing that we have done applies. There is always some time of play like it. Rarely is there something that we have just not seen. “Occasionally you will run into an exotic offense but it is more of the exception as opposed to the rule. It is the same thing defensively.

“Typically from week to week, they are running the zone, speed option, they have these pass concepts, and these certain formations.

“Defensively, they are two by two or three by one. They keep it pretty simple over there but now all of a sudden you play this group and it is a whole different animal. It is not the same. It is a totally different preparation to a totally different style of play.

“Everybody is flying off the ball and cutting every snap. It is very different. You don’t have the balance that you usually see from week to week. It is a challenge in that regard but I am thankful that we have a lot of guys that have a little bit of experience. “Talk about not sleeping, my first time we played them when I got the job in ’08, it was the first time ever that we played Coach Paul Johnson. At least we have a bunch of guys that understand, have been in this game and know what to expect so it is not something that shocks them.

“From a preparation standpoint, this is definitely always one of the biggest challenges we have defensively. They do a great job coaching. You have to change it up. You can’t just do the same thing. Once you get some information and you know who is running the alley, you know how is tackling the fullback and all those things, he has answers. You have to do a great job of keeping them off balanced. The bottom line is that you have to win the match up and try to disrupt what they do.

How has Vic evolved as a complete defensive end?
Swinney: “He has come a long way. An area that he needed to improve on this year was becoming a more compete player and he has done that. If you go and watch the nine games on just Vic Beasley, it is impressive what he has been able to do against what he has had to face because he has seen it all. “He has become very disruptive in the run game. He has run people down from the backside. His first step movement has allowed him to really create problems in the run game. His ability to redirect where he was really out of the play and athleticism to be able to redirect has really been a game changer. “This year, he has just played with more confidence in that regard. Obviously, in the passing game, they have a plan for him every single week. He has been very disruptive but has been a smart player. He is a very instinctive player. That is probably where he has improved just as much as any other part of his game is just his overall understanding of what people are trying to do and why and then how to counter that.

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