Dabo Swinney's Press Conference

CLEMSON - Head coach Dabo Swinney discusses Saturday's game against Presbyterian.

Opening Statement: Getting ready for the Blue Hose- it's week two. The focus is on us. It's about improvement and focusing on mistakes and keeping on keeping on. We did some good things last week that I'm proud of but obviously we've got some areas that I hope we improve on from week one to week two. PC is transitioning to Division I and that's always a difficult process. We've only watched one game and they seem to be improved - they put up 362 yards of offense up there and scored some points. The little running back they've got is a good tough runner that has some balance to him. The center is not very big but he gets the job done. He's good.

Defensively we are very familiar with these guys because their defensive coordinator used to be our G.A. over here for a number of years. Tom does a great job coordinating the defense. Andy Ford is their secondary coach. They have a good sound scheme. The biggest thing in preparing for them is they aren't very big and they are very young. So they aren't going to just sit there. So we have to be prepared for a lot of different movements - whether it's guys coming from the secondary or specialty blitzes. There will be a lot of movement. That will be something to watch this weekend.

Injury-wise for us we are in pretty good shape. Brandon Maye is progressing very very well. He is questionable. Miguel [Chavis] is probable. He'll practice today. I'd say he's probable. We did have one other issue pop up yesterday and that was Jarvis Jenkins. He played the whole game but his knee kind of swelled up on him a little bit. He's got a slight MCL sprain. He probably could play this week but he's probably questionable.

Did you see the trick play PC used against Wake (the bounce pass)?
Swinney: Shoot yeah. Back in flag ball. (laughing) I'm glad they ran it against them and not us. We didn't cover that one in camp. The old bounce pass backwards. That was a really good job by them executing it.

We didn't see much of the vertical passing game Saturday?
Swinney: Well we need to get the ball a little more. That would help. I thought we threw the ball. We didn't really do a whole on offense to be honest with you but we did what we had to do to win the game and that's the objective.

What do you think about Chris Hairston not thinking it's that big of a deal to have two hundred yard rushers Saturday against North Texas?
Swinney: I think Chris is just a humble guy. He's not a guy that is going to pat himself on the back. I'm awful proud of the offensive line to be honest. You don't have that kind of production by accident. You have to give the backs a tremendous amount of credit to the backs there as well. They are

Has Jamie Harper just grown up this year?
Swinney: We all want to them to be super stars as freshmen. He's just growing up. He didn't just take a superstar pill and become a good player. He's been working. He's just one of those guys - him and Andre are both third-year players. They've had to pay their dues and grow up. Little things. Like Jamie, learning how to take care of his body the right way. They are more confident and more sure of what they are doing. More knowledgeable and more productive. That's the case at a lot of positions.

Are you confident that you will have seen everything you will have wanted to see by next week's trip to Auburn?
Swinney: I just want to win. That's really all that matters. I'm not worried about anything else. I'm worried about getting to 2-0. That hasn't happened very often around here. We definitely want our players to keep getting better. There's nothing like game film of themselves to study and learn from. That's all we are focused on.

What did you think about Kyle Parker's performance?
Swinney: He did okay. He missed one throw that he was off target on. the interception was poor. He knows it. He got greedy and their defense did a good job baiting him in there. We have to come away with points right there. That's probably the biggest mistake he made but he did fine. But with the opportunities the offense had ... he was effective and the offense was pretty dominant to be honest with you. Certainly it wasn't his worst game and it was by far his best game so it was just okay.

What about your defense?
Swinney: No it was the first game and we just didn't play well in some spots. They did a good job. Let's give them some credit. We did have six sacks. We did have 13 tackles for loss. I know nobody wants to talk about something positive. That's top five in the country. Guys were active, flying. Again, let's not confuse activity with accomplishment. Everybody is running the race. Are you just running the race or are you running to win. We did some things in the game that I know they know better. Also, it was the first game and sometimes crazy things happen. We did not finish some plays like we could have. I'm just glad we won. You know, I've been in games where we've played pretty good and lost. And that ain't worth a darn right there. Yeah- we didn't play as good as we hoped but we won the game. There are some good things to build upon and that's what we are focused on.

What are your thoughts on Byron Maxwell?
Swinney: Byron is another one of those guys who has just kind of grown up. He's played a lot of football for us. He's always been Robin. Now he's Batman. Now he's the guy. He's really taken that to heart. He had a couple of technique things that we graded him down but scouts love him because you don't find a corner with the kind of body he's got. The interception he made was perfection. It was a clinic on how he played. Big play. Red zone defense was excellent. It's all about the ball on defense. Happy to see we got our hands on a couple of them and were able to catch it.

Dawson Zimmerman said he's been more focused on a lot of things with his skill set instead of worrying about shanking punts. Is that something the staff has worked with him on?
Swinney: We've been working him with Milt (our performance specialist). I've been really hard on Dawson - but what you saw on Saturday is what I see all the time. We were joking about getting him to practice in his game day uniform. He's been a practice All-American. He had a great spring. I've been very cautious about him. 50.8 in net punting - that's a Clemson record. He's a national punter of the week. Not bad for a practice All-American. I told him if he does that every week we'll get him out of that uniform in practice. We ought to be better than we were last year because we were last. I'm proud of him. Very proud of him.

Gilchrist is obviously off to a fast starter as a returner. What is it about a return guy you have to have?
Swinney: You have to have ball skills first of all. You have to have the guts of a burglar. You better have some. Y'all get your minds out of the gutter. If you got anybody that's tip-toeing through the daisies, that's the job for him. You got to have really little eyes when that ball in the air. All the great ones they've got that swagger to them. When Deion was here back in the day and he told the whole crowd what he was going to do - you got to have that swagger. You have to have some confidence. He did a great job. He could have scored on one. We had the Berlin Wall setup on one. But you have to have good hands, make people miss and change direction. We've got two or three other guys you hope to get opportunities maybe this weekend.

How does it change your mindset as a coach when you have a punter that can flip the field?
Swinney: Field position is huge. You talk about flipping it. It's hard to go score and the further the field is the percentages go down. The punt- it's one of the best offesnive plays in football if you think about it. How many plays can you get 40+ yards on a play. If you got a guy who can consistently hit it 40 or 50 yards in one play- that's field position. Let's make sure we take advantage of a weapon for our defense. It's kind of like playing checkers- you keep moving and you finally get to king one and you get in trouble.

Can you talk about DeAndre Hopkins and his 'football speed?'
Swinney: I don't know what he runs. I just know he makes plays. I've never seen speed as a problem with him - ever. He's just a football player. He is one of those rare freshmen that don't get overwhelmed. He just gets it. Saturday was like he's been doing it for three years. Nothing to it. He's going to be an exciting player at Clemson. He really is. Almost made a great catch on a ball about that high off the ground. Hopefully he'll continue to get some opportunities.

Did you watch the Boise State game last night? What were your thoughts on that?
Swinney: I thought Virginia tech was the more dominant team but they made too many mistakes. But what I like about Boise State is they play with a confidence. An attitude. That's what we are trying to develop here- a belief in your team that you can. that's what they have bought into. And they weren't perfect, they made several mistakes. It was a heckuva ball game all the way down to the end. Boise just refused to lose. That's what a championship team - that's the one quality they all have. Despite what somebody else may say, or whatever, they believe. That's a great little football team right there now.

(laughing) I am disappointed in you all- because nobody asked what a Blue Hose was. It's Braveheart. It's the Scottish warriors coming over the hills- they all pull up their Blue Hose before they go to war.

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