Dabo discusses Deshaun, Stoudt and more

Dabo Swinney addresses the current situation at quarterback and more in his weekly press conference with the media.

Opening Statement
Swinney: “We are anxious to get back on the field this week and see if we can play a better offensively. We are looking forward to finishing our season at home. It is great when you can finish your year with two homes games and get a chance to embrace your seniors.

“This is a special week for us. It is Military Appreciation week. We are going to wearing our purple and we want all our fans in purple.

“ Also, from a military appreciation standpoint, we have some of our former players who are now in the military and they are going to lead our team down the hill. These players include Alex Pearson, Nelson Faerber, Scotty Cooper and Mason Cloy who are now all in the military. So, it is pretty cool to have four of my former players that actually played for me to be able to come back in participate in the military appreciation festivities.

“Also, we will individually honor our seniors this ball game. We will honor them as a group next weekend, but individually this week.

“This is a special group. They have a chance to get their 40th win in this week. Forty wins in a four-year career for these guys would be special and tie them for the most wins of a class in school history with that 1990 group. They put together a really special run from ‘87-‘90.

“There is still a special opportunity in front for this group of seniors. From a team standpoint, we are just trying to regroup and have a great finish. That is what we are 100 percent focused on.

Georgia State is a team that has had some tough losses. This group is a young program. They have a second year head coach in Trent Miles. They have got some guys that can make some plays on both sides of the ball.

“We have to play well, especially with some of the mistakes we have made offensively the last couple ball games. If we go out there and continue the trend of turning the ball over, anything can happen. It is really about us trying to improve as a team.

“Their offense coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was Boston College’s head coach (2007-08) and won here his first year. They throw the ball all over the park. They throw the ball probably as well as anybody we have played in a while. They do a nice job with the scheme.

“They have a lot of quick gains, verticals and do a good job with their inside running game. They know what they are doing in the passing game. That is a big challenge for us to play fundamentally sound and execute our defense. The quarterback is very impressive as far as putting the ball on the money with some of the deep balls that he has thrown. It is going to be a good challenge for our guys from a passing game standpoint especially in how they try to attack you.

“Defensively, it is a little harder to get dialed in on them. Over the course of the season, they have done a lot of different things defensively. They have had lots of different looks, fronts and personnel groupings from week to week. Some of that is due to injuries and some of it is due to trying to find something that fits their personnel the best.

“So, we have to get a good plan and do a great job executing offensively, which is something we have not done, especially well in this last ball game.

“Cole Stoudt will start the game at quarterback. I like how he has responded in my meeting with him and then also just coming back to work yesterday and last night. He gives us the best chance to win and it is important that we have a good week at practice and come out of this week with some confidence with Cole. “Obviously, he had a bad day Saturday but the best of the best have bad days. The week before that he was our offensive MVP (vs. Wake Forest). The week before that he won the leather helmet (against Boston College). So, we have seen him play better and we need him to play better. “Everybody else has to help him play better too in all the position groups, coaches and everything. It is not just on Cole. I know that is something that everyone is wondering with what we are going to do this week, but he will start the game and then we will go from there. “ I hope we have a great crowd. I am very excited about getting back and finishing this season. We only get seven days a year when we all get to gather up in this stadium and its special. Everybody needs to appreciate those opportunities because we live for them all year long and cant wait to have the chance to have a home game and we have a chance to do two in a row here.

“We are going to do everything we can on this side to have a great finish and I hope our fan base will do the same. We are going to have a great senior day, military appreciation day, and these final two weeks to send our seniors out the right way.

“What is the status on Deshaun Watson?”
Swinney: "It is day to day. That is all I can tell you. He gets better every day. We kind of expected the worse. I think when I talked to you all on Sunday night, I literally got the call not long after that and we got some good news.

“He still has an injury. He is not out there doing sprints just yet, but it is not what we thought it might be. We know how to attack it now. He was a lot better Sunday and then he was better yesterday than he was Sunday. It is truly a day-to-day thing. I don’t see any way that he would possibly play this weekend, but we are hopeful that he can play next week (against South Carolina). I can’t tell you that today. I really don’t know.

More on Cole Stoudt
Swinney: “A lot of guys have a bad game. This kid has given four years of his life to Clemson University. One thing that I will say about Cole Stoudt in the past years was that he was always ready whenever we needed him and he lost some confidence this year. It has been a difficult situation.

“This guy has done nothing but represent this university with class and has been a great ambassador. He is not the reason we lost the Georgia game. He played pretty well in the Georgia game. In fact, I went back and watched that game so he could be reminded of how well he played. He is certainly not the reason we lost the Florida State game. That is just the way it is. It is a shame that this is the world we live in.

“Everyone needs to stand and cheer loudly for Cole Stoudt. Cole Stoudt could have left Clemson. He could of packed up and left but he sat here (behind Tajh Boyd) and was the best backup he could be for three years. He came through for us every time and did everything he could for us this year.

“He got beat out and continued to have a great attitude and represent this program the right way and that is the way it is….You still have to celebrate what a young man has done in his career here.

“It is my hope that Cole will finish this thing out great. We have won six out of the last seven. We have not lost the last four in a row. We had a bad day offensively at Georgia Tech. We played well enough on defense and special teams to win that game. We had a really bad day offensively.

“The one thing that I have learned in my life and the one thing that I try to instill in our players here is that when adversity comes in your life, you have a choice. You can let that moment or bad decision or mistakes define you for the rest of your life, let it destroy your life or let it develop you.

“What I try to teach our guys through the game of football is to allow the bad and the good things to develop them into the person that God has created them to be. That is just my opinion and my beliefs. “The greatest winners in this world all had massive defeats. They continued to learn, grow and develop.

Whether it was Michael Jordan or whether it was John Wooden. All we know John Wooden won 10 championships, but he coached 17 years before he won his first one. I am sure he had a lot of discouraging defeats along the way but he continued to let that develop him.

“That is what I try to teach our players. I try to teach them to use all these things in your life to develop. Football is such a great teacher for life. We lose a football game. We had a guy have a bad game. There are going to be a lot worse things than that happen.

“ I watched Tom Brady the other night. The earlier part of the year, the Patriots played the Chiefs and Tom Brady was awful. In fact, they benched Tom Brady. I remember watching that and the commentators were going on about how they could not believe that they benched him.

“Tom Brady came out and said they should have benched me because I played terrible. Everyone started saying Tom Brady is too old and cant do it anymore. His comments were I am going to fix it. I watched him Monday night and it was amazing.

“You let those things develop you into what you are capable of being. That is the choice and the decision that people have to make in what they are doing. Everybody deals with disappointment from time to time. There are a lot of good teams out there that are dealing with some disappointment like we are. We have not had a bad year.

What are the goals for Seniors?
Swinney:“We have a chance to have a great year and that is our focus. We have a chance to finish 10-3. That has only happened once in our history. Let’s focus on that and go do it. That is what we got in front of us. We have a chance to finish ranked four years in a row. That has happened only in the ’86-’91 era. That would be something special.

“These seniors could leave as the most winning class. We can be state champs and win the bowl game. There are a lot of things for us to focus on. We are frustrated that it did not go our way last week but we are going to learn and grow from it and help it develop us into the type of team that we want to be this year. More importantly, we want it to help us build into the type of program that we are building here. There is a bigger picture and it is a great game to teach individuals the fundamentals of life.

"Do you hope to play Schuessler some at quarterback?
Swinney: “ I definitely hope to play him. I think the more experience we can get Nick, the better. Our objective is to go win the game, but I do hope that we can play Nick. I was proud of him and how he went in. He took what was there. He missed a couple protection things. Nick has really improved.

“He just does not have experience yet. He has really improved. He has worked really hard to get better and prepare. He has gotten really serious about his preparation, which has been good to see. He has a different level of urgency to him this year than he has in the past. He is going to be a very important part of moving forward. It is not like we have a bunch of quarterbacks.

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