“We're looking forward to getting back out on the field against an exceptional football team down in Clemson. Dabo [Swinney] has put together a great football team, especially with the eight seniors they've got on the defensive side of the ball. They're really playing with a lot of confidence and flying around.
We're really looking forward to getting back out on the field and playing again.”
What can you say about on film what you've really taken away from Clemson so far, including the resolve they had in that game against Florida State?
“Well, Florida State was very fortunate to win that football game. I would say if you looked at that film, Clemson played very well in a lot of areas, just had a couple of miscues that were the difference in the game.
“Defensively at every position, they can run; they really can run. Their defensive line is extremely quick, aggressive. They get after it. They can fly around. They do a great job. Their linebackers can run. Their secondary does a tremendous job. They can play you in man at the corners and hold up against anybody.
“Offensively, you look at them, and I think now they may have settled down on the young quarterback. The scheme that they run is going to put them in a position to make quite a few explosive plays. I think Deshaun Watson shows he's very capable of running that offense and can beat you with either his arm or his legs.”
As far as last week, obviously you're moving forward, but what can you say about East Carolina, how far they've come, what you took away from that game?
“They've come a long way. I've been around them now seven years. I've seen the progress they've made. He's been very steady with the improvement. He's got a very veteran team that has been in his system now. He's seeing the results of that.”
Talk about the areas of progress that you've seen most greatly out of Quinshad Davis, where does he stand in the pecking order of your receivers?
“He's obviously one of our top receivers. One, he's a guy that's very, very mature. He's very competitive, very team oriented. For him it's about winning, not about how many touches do I get. It's all about winning for him.
You watch the way he practices. He goes out on the field every single day to get better. He's just a lot of fun to coach actually because he works so hard and he gets the big picture.
“Where has he improved the most? You know, I'm going to say in his knowledge of how to run routes, how to get in and out of cuts, all those things. Really just his talent alone would take him in high school, but he's improved in the area of route running and how to get open.”
He put up some points in the early going, but his numbers have been down a little bit from past years. Are teams scheming for him a little bit more or is it the way the flow of the game went?
“I think it's more just the flow of the game. It hasn't been that teams are locked in on him by any means. It's been plays that have been called. Sometimes coverages dictate that the ball goes to another place. That's just the way it's happened.”
Coming off the East Carolina game, how much did that leave you shaken or not about your defense going forward the rest of the season?
“Well, it's hard not to play in a game like that and it not cause a stir amongst the coaches and their players. I mean, we've got to do a much better job in every aspect of what we're doing defensively. There's no doubt about it. You can't play like that and be successful.
“So it makes you evaluate and look at everything that you're doing in your program, not just defensively, but in every phase, how we prepare, what we're doing. Are we putting our players in the best position to win?
How do you psychologically get the defense in a good mindset this week so they're not doubting themselves?
“That's the toughest thing in any kind of loss that you have, is making sure your guys haven't lost confidence in themselves, haven't lost confidence in what they're doing. That's the mind game part of it. Physically, nothing's changed. Once you understand that the mental part of it is 90 percent of it, you can be okay.”
What have you done this week to shore up the defense? What kind of changes have you made with the scheme or personnel?
“It's a different team that you're preparing for. You're preparing for Clemson. A totally different offense. So the scheme will be different, there's no doubt. I mean, there were some things fundamentally that you have to continue to work on to get better at. Just tackling alone, running to the football, getting more hats to the ball, things like that.”
How challenging is it to try to reboot and get everybody back on the same page in light of the fact that Clemson has a really good offense?
“You don't have time to wallow around in pity, to cry, all the things that everybody else gets to do. You got to put it to bed and get ready for the next one. That's what you have to do. You have to believe in what you're doing, believe in yourself. You’ve got to go out, work hard, get better each and every day. That's what you have to do.”
“There's no magic wand or no pills that you're going to be able to take, no shortcuts. You keep doing the things you're doing and you get better.”
Brian Walker, even though he missed the first game, already has three interceptions. What is it about him that allows him to be around the ball so much? What does it take to be a guy that makes a lot of interceptions like that?
“Well, one thing about Brian, I think confidence is very, very critical. The ability to play man coverage, play tight on a guy. That's how you're going to get balls, because you're there where you're supposed to be. Brian has done a great job of anticipating. He's worked extremely hard at his skill set. He also has worked hard at watching film and breaking down film, studying opponents. He's a guy that can really run. He's got a lot of talent. Fortunately for him and for us he's been making plays for us.”
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