Sunday teleconference notes

News and notes from Dabo Swinney's weekly teleconference with the media.


With a lead going into the fourth quarter during Saturday's 14-10 loss to Texas Christian, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney would like to see the Tigers keep a tighter grasp on late leads.

A day later, he believes it's a matter of now learning how to win.

"I think this is a team that really believes they can win. They expect to win and now they've got to learn how to win," he said. "We've got to teach them how to win."

Swinney believes there are a lot of positives, despite the loss and that includes the team getting better, which he firmly believes is the case.

"When it's all said and done, this is going to be a team that we played toe to toe with that will probably be undefeated at the end of the season," he said.

The positives, according to Swinney: no sacks from one of the nation's best pass rushers (Jerry Hughes), running the ball against a defense that doesn't give up a lot of yards on the ground, no turnovers, key stops on defense and good effort.

But there were some negatives, most notably the lack of red zone touchdowns and dropped passes.

"We've got to catch the ball," Swinney said. "The tight ends had a couple of drops. Two or three wide-outs had a drop."

The drops throughout the first four games this year have hurt Kyle Parker's completion percentage though Swinney said there are some things that could be corrected.

"Whether it's just sticking with his progressions or sitting in there and delivering the ball," Swinney said. "But he's also making a lot of plays for us.

"We're pleased with him, but we've got to get him better if we're going to make a run for it."

Others team negatives from Saturday that he mentioned: missed opportunities on both sides of the ball, Andy Dalton's 100 yards rushing, giving up touchdowns in the red zone, missing a field goal and losing the fourth quarter lead.

Swinney believes last year's team wouldn't have had fourth quarter leads in this year's pair of losses.

"Last year, we would have gotten blown out in Atlanta and would've gotten pushed around yesterday against a very tough, physical, hard-nosed team," he said.

From the first loss against Georgia Tech and Saturday's versus Texas Christian, Swinney sees a team that's getting better. He likens the second loss to the first in that it can do nothing but make the team get better.

INJURY UPDATES: C.J. Spiller looked good this morning, Swinney said.

Chris Hairston is still questionable for this Saturday's game at Maryland. Swinney maintains that Hairston continues to feel better each day and anticipates that No. 61 will be ready for the Terrapins.

"Hairston definitely plays if he's ready to play," Swinney said. "We're not going to play somebody if they're not ready to play. That was the decision (against Texas Christian). He wanted to play but still wasn't quite strong enough." Top Stories