Although winning the games seemed to be all too elusive in the first part of the season, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney believes it was the offensive line that gave the Tigers a chance to win beat Miami 40-37 at Land Shark Stadium on Saturday.
Chris Hairston, who Swinney believes played the best game of his career, was named player of the game with an 85 percent grade, three knockdowns and four cut blocks.
"(The offensive line) played a pretty solid game upfront with the seven guys that played," Swinney said.
A big part of the win included the plays during the fourth quarter and overtime that were converted--those situations that didn't necessarily go Clemson's way in losses to Georgia Tech, Texas Christian and Maryland.
"We made the kick, made the throw, made the catch and got the critical stop we needed," he said.
Tied for first-place in the Atlantic Division, Swinney won't look past the job at hand. He doesn't expect a let down against FCS opponent Coastal Carolina.
"Our focus is going to be 100 percent on Coastal Carolina. That's the biggest game of the year coming up this weekend, I can assure you," he said. "We have a lot of work to do to get better. That's what our focus is going to be on."
Swinney was happy with the way the offense moved the ball, even though the results weren't always favorable. There were scoring opportunities that "could have put the game away".
"One was a missed field goal and the other three were turnovers," he said. "That was probably the most disappointing thing to me. The big plays on defense were very disappointing."
Fourth-down and 45 from their own 18-yard line on the Tiger's second possession was a disappointment too.
"Other than that, we did a good job against a solid defense moving the ball," Swinney said.
He was pleased the defense won the fourth quarter and overtime. Swinney credited the defense, which forced a season-high four turnovers. But he wasn't happy with the big plays, first and third downs and the Hurricane's running game, which had success because of misalignments and a lack of gap control.
Swinney said, "282 of their yards came on 10 plays--that's disappointing. We have to do a little bit better on some of our route leverage. They did a good job of putting a little bit of different personnel on the field that gave us some problems."
All displeasures on defense aside, he was happy that stops were made when they were needed the most.
"They made the critical stop at the end of the game to get us the ball back and have the opportunity to go tie it," Swinney said. "They made a big, big stop in overtime to hold them to the field goal."
Michael Palmer suffered a slight concussion, he'll be held out the next couple of days. There were a few "bumps and bruises," including C.J. Spiller's toe. After the game, he was wearing a boot. Swinney hopes Scotty Cooper will be available to play on Saturday against Coastal Carolina.
Dabo Swinney's Sunday Teleconference
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