SWINNEY: More Toughness Needed

CLEMSON - Interim head coach Dabo Swinney met with the media Tuesday after practice and continued his refreshing approach to the game.


Was today a little more calm than what happened yesterday? Were you able to get your feet underneath you a little bit better?
Swinney: A little bit. I got home about 1:30 last night or something and fell asleep about three and got up about five. It's been a long time since I've only gotten two hours of sleep. I've never been one that has a problem sleeping. I can sleep. Five or six hours is pretty good for me. But two hours I was ready to roll. I was excited to come in here this morning. My mind was racing with what I wanted to do. You feel the clock ticking already. We came in here today and maximized the day. We had a staff meeting at 7 AM and went right to work. Both staffs are going full speed and I think we are in the process of developing a great plan for these guys. The kids seem to be buying into it. My day - I can't just look at film. There's a lot going on. Holy smokes. I had a chance to meet with academics and Terry Don. It's been a good day but a wild 36 hours.

You talked about instilling more toughness on this team, how do you do that?
Swinney: You've got to coach it every day. Toughness is hitting first and hitting harder. Toughness is getting up. Toughness is making a mistake and you come back. Toughness is keeping your poise. Toughness is not throwing your helmet on the sideline after making a mistake. Toughness is coming to work when you don't want to come to work, or walking to your class in the rain at the eight in the morning. Toughness in football is who hits the hardest, hits first and hits the longest. We've got some tough guys. It's a tough game played by tough people. That's why there is 22 on the field and 80,000 in the stands. I want every player, including the kicker, be the toughest player on the field.

Does your game plan change a lot without C.J.?
Swinney: He is C.J. Spiller. There are certain things he can do that nobody else can do. We'll have a great plan. we We won't necessarily won't do something because we won't have C.J. James Davis is a great player. Jamie Harper is an exciting player. I'm excited to see him play. We'll have some guys that hit some doubles where C.J. can hit it out of the park.

You are doing a lot of things differently, especially when it comes to leadership ... with guys having to wear ties on away games. Talk about that.
Swinney: Absolutely. It starts with leadership. We've got a great group of seniors here and outstanding juniors. I've had a real positive response from all of those guys. They seem to be buying into the changes we are making. I told them, "we have to lead from within." Let's pick cups off the field. Just little things. Let's do things right. I'm greatly depending on them because I can't do it myself.

And what about having your guys wear coat and ties on road trips?
Swinney: That's my personal preference. I do things differently. One of the things I always believe in, is you just have to feel good about yourself. When we represent this university on a business trip, you should look nice. You feel good and you play good. We are going to be in coat and tie as a team. We will bring our warm ups to the hotel and wear them to a movie. We'll be coat and tie, coaches included. We'll got as a family. Coaches, players, all of us.

Have you talked to Coach Bowden since everything that happened yesterday?
Swinney: I have talked to coach Bowden. Y'all will appreciate this. He has a warped sense of humor. It's late last night, I had 163 text messages. 50 voicemails. I talked to him during the day, and then he left me a text message. He said, "could you keep your comments a little more brief? You are cutting into dancing with the stars." I had to call him right there and we had a real nice laugh. He's a true leader and knows how to handle people in a difficult situation. I got a real bit of comic relief of that last night.

Are you looking forward to the bye week so you really get a chance to implement what you want to do?
Swinney: Yeah. I'm looking forward to the first game. You only get one first game. This is a strange circumstance for me. I'm excited to see what we are able to do in a short period of time. We are working feverishly until kickoff to put a good product on the field Saturday. I'm anxious to see how it goes. I'm ready to jump in that fire and see how it goes. It's a stressful situation right now with a short amount of time to do a lot of things. But knowing we do have an open date coming up and know we can get into a groove that will be nice. That's a real blessing to have that bye week. Pluse we'll get some guys back healthy. We'll have plenty of time to get ready for Boston College. It will be good for our staff.

Can you speak about Georgia Tech for a second and what problems they present offensively?
Swinney: They run a bunch of formations. You talk about, you better be precise and discipline. That's one of the things I talked to the team tonight. This is a game of tremendous discipline. Guys lining up and coming off the ball, playing with a low pad level. If you have one mistake they take it to the house. They lull your corners to sleep. Then they hit you. It's going to be a big test for our defense.

You sent out an email to the students today about a Tiger Walk and everybody wearing orange. Talk about that for a second.
Swinney: I want to reach out to the students here. There are some bridges I want to build. One of the things I believe in, is having to fit into the athletic department that this is the students' football team. They pay tuition here. They take pride in their university and root for their team. Sometimes I think it's us and them and there is a disconnect. That's not the way I want to be around here. We talk a lot about one Clemson. I'm going to do everything I can to promote that. One of the ways we can do that is to reach out to the students. The negativity is gone. It's time to root for these guys. I want the students to rally behind us. We are going to wear all orange. We have a solid orange campaign around here that talks about pride and we are going to show it. It's an orange-out or whatever you want to call it. Let's show some support for this football team. You don't like us coaches that's fine. But let's show some support for this football team because they are out here working. Come to cheer. Be loud. Wear your orange. Let's create an atmosphere. We've got recruits that are still with us and lets show an atmosphere that these kids will want to play in. The other thing I'd like to do, I want to have a student practice. Come to practice. However many of them want to come. No media. Student practice. Come and hang out with the team and watch us work. Another thing- we are going to have a pep rally in the next couple of weeks in their environment. Let's come together as a group.

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