Tigers Begin Preparing for Nebraska

CLEMSON - The Clemson Tigers took to the field for the first time Friday in preparation for the upcoming Konica Minolta Gator Bowl against Nebraska. Head coach Dabo Swinney spoke to the media shortly before things got underway.


Opening Statement ... New Coaches
Swinney: He's got so much wisdom. He's accomplished so much in this profession. Really really glad he is here with us and bringing him back to a place he really liked coaching at. Danny Pearman is another one. He's going to coach the tight ends and tackles. Really excited to have two full time coaches on the offensive line. He brings a lot of toughness to the table. He coached on our national championship team at Alabama. Worked under Danny Ford. Played under Danny Ford. Then went to Virginia Tech under Coach Beamer. Been apart of some great football games and really really understands the ACC and he played here. Excited about him joining us. Charlie Harbison - just one of my three or four favorite people in the whole world. Great recruiter. Also coached here. Coached [Brian] Dawkins and [Dexter] McCleon. Coached at LSU with Nick Saban. Did a great job at Mississippi State. I think they were top 20 in defense. We call him Coach Cheese because he smiles all the time. Really excited about what this staff brings to the table.

Can you talk about the connections between these new staff members and Clemson and Alabama?
Swinney: It's very interesting. I really can't explain it. There's just a tremendous history that's kind of all intertwined the whole way with assistant coaches and head coaches [between Clemson and Alabama]. It's an interesting dynamic.

Was the hiring about hiring coaches you knew?
Swinney: It's all about hiring the best coaches first of all. The best people. Loyalty. Trust. Wisdom. They all bring something different to the table. Those are three guys that are very critical in what we want to do long term.

When will you name a defensive coordinator?
Swinney: Barring anything unforeseen, I don't see anything happening until after the bowl game. Obviously we are talking to people. There's a lot of great coaches, first of all, without jobs that want to come to Clemson. And there's a lot of coaches with great jobs that want to come to Clemson. We will make a good decision there but I don't htink we'll announce anything until after the bowl game.

So the new coaches will coach in the bowl game and int he practices leading up to the bowl?
Swinney: Absolutely. Charlie will coach the secondary. Same thing with Danny. It gives them a head start for next year to see where their guys are.

Who will call the plays for the bowl game?
Swinney: Same as it's been.

Is that how it will stay after that?
Swinney: Those are all things we'll discuss later on.

Will you change up practice for the bowl game compared to what has been done in the past?
Swinney: We'll practice a little bit differently. On our typical days in bowl prep, we'll hit it and get it what I'm calling the varsity and then keep the JV out there and work on fundamentals with those guys. The freshmen and the walk ons who haven't played as much. Coaching them. Teaching them and trying to get a head start on this opportunity that we have and getting them more confident headed into the offseason.

How will your defense be called during the bowl game?
Swinney: David will be up top making his calls and Ron will be on the field- just like we've been.

What do you know about Nebraska?
Swinney: Strength on strength. I think they are 12th in the nation total offense. 18th in scoring offense. We are 10th in scoring defense. Something has to give. That's a pretty good matchup. I see a very balanced team. An 800 yard rusher and a 900 yard receiver. Quarterback completes about 69 percent of his passes. 25 rushing touchdowns and 27 passing touchdowns. West coast system. They've got more than just one guy. It's a great matchup for a bowl game. It will be very intriguing to watch- what gives? The challenge for us is we have to score points. They are averaging 36 points per game so they've been in some shootouts.

What do you think about the Big 12?
Swinney: They are scoring a bunch of points. High-powered offenses and people scoring a lot of points Very strong conference.

Will you interview any more candidates for the coordinator spot on campus before the bowl game?
Swinney: Possibly.

Was that your plan to have two offensive line coaches all along or did this just pop up with Pearman?
Swinney: It's kind of been my plan. It's my background. It's all I knew before I came here. That's how it was with Coach Stallings. It just helps when you have two full time guys on the offensive line. Brad will continue to direct it but Danny is going to be a big big asset with those tackles.

What do you hope to accomplish these next three days?
Swinney: Get back to fundamentals. The basics. Let's do what we do. Not interested in game-planning and scheming. Let's make the right reads. Good fundamental football. Today will be like a typical Monday practice after a football game.

With McCorvey, will he be the Director of Football operations through the end of this year or next football season?
Swinney: He'll be the Director of Football Operations. Probably next year as well. [He's then asked could that change?] Absolutely.

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