Sunday Evening Teleconference; Kelly Bryant Update

Staff reports,
Tiger Illustrated

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CLEMSON -- Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney addressed members of the media Sunday evening as part of his weekly teleconference, this time to look back on his team's 28-14 win over Wake Forest, which pushed the Tigers to a perfect 6-0 on the season.

Clemson will work on a short week in the coming days, facing Syracuse (3-3) on Friday in the Carrier Dome. The Tigers opened as a 21-point favorite over the Orange Sunday afternoon.

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The following is an edited transcript of Swinney's Sunday teleconference.



Opening statements: "Just again want to congratulate our team. I'm really proud of them. It was an excellent win. It was a tough Wake Forest team. As you saw last night in college football, anything can happen. I just have a great appreciation for our guys and how they get ready each and every week. We took care of business. We got a little sloppy late but overall I'm so proud of our guys. It's the third year in a row we're 6-0. It's hard to win, man. It's hard to win. I feel like our best football is in front of us.

"We have a quick turnaround this week. Today is Monday for us. We'll be practicing within the hour. Our guys came in awhile ago and seemed to be ready to embrace the moment. Syracuse is a tough team. They played LSU and N.C. State tough.

"Mitch Hyatt played outstanding and was a player of the game for us on offense. Defensively, it was Tre Lamar, Tanner Muse and Cornell Powell (special teams) as our players of the game.

"Kelly Bryant came in today and he's a little sore. He's moving around pretty good. He's day to day. We'll see how he progresses throughout the week."

Q: Can you elaborate on what you just said about how hard it is to win?

Swinney: "Yes, it's hard. Everyone has enough (players to win). Most teams have just enough. If you're not quite ready, you're not focused or cough up the football, you get beat. It's just a fine line. That's why I just have a great appreciation for where we are right now and where we were the last several years. It's very rare. I'm proud of our guys, their leadership. That was a good team we played yesterday. Our guys were really focused on the task at hand to get a hard-fought win. We've played some good teams. We're looking forward to the open date after this week but this week we'll try to empty the tank and play our best game Friday night."

Q: Is there a practice plan for Kelly Bryant this week?

Swinney: "He's going to be just fine. It'll be a decisiion later on this week. He'll be limited today but I think he'll practice. If he's ready to play, he'll play. If not, we'll play the next guy."

Q: After watching the film, your evaluation of Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper?

Swinney: "Hunter was outstanding. He was 5-of-5. He made some good reads and converted some of our run calls. I thought Zerrick missed a couple of throws. He made a great throw to Deon that Deon just dropped. Both looked fine."

Q: Talk about Friday night and this game hurting Friday night (high school) football?

Swinney: "I'm not a fan of it. I'll miss seeing my son Friday night. I hate that I cannot be there for that. I'm not a fan of it. Television dictates all that stuff. I prefer the Saturday games."

Q: Two years behind Deshaun Watson, how has it helped Kelly Bryant?

Swinney: "I think it has helped him tremendously, just having a front row seat for two full years in how he prepared every week, how he got himself ready on Sundays after a game, how he came in on Mondays. I think it helped him to see Deshaun's attention to detail in meetings. I think it has been a huge benefit for him, for sure, as he visualized his opportunity at some point."

Q: Talk about your evaluation of the offensive line yesterday.

Swinney: "They played well. We ran the ball well. We had one sack. I thought they controlled the game. The biggest thing offensively is we had a lot of opportunities schematically. The bad news is we missed some opportunities that we should have taken advantage of. Wake just had 17 tackles for loss against Florida State. They didn't get that against us."

Q: You brought John Simpson in on one of those fourth downs. What's your evaluation of where he is now?

Swinney: "John played well. We don't really sub them like that in any particular situation. We just play them. I think John played 32 snaps. We played eight guys 30+ snaps or more on the offensive line. I've got confidence in John regardless of the situation he's in."

Q: If Kelly cannot go Friday night, will you work both Hunter and Zerrick in the game or make a decision on one of them this week?

Swinney: "We're not going to get into all that. We'll just get ready for those guys. I expect Kelly to be ready to go. We'll have a plan if not, but I won't lay it all out for Syracuse."

Q: Will Zerrick and Hunter both share first-team snaps in practice today?

Swinney: "We haven't practiced yet today. I won't talk about how we break reps up this week. We practice at 7 p.m. tonight."

Q: The fans who want to beat everyone 70-0 talk about liberal substitutions in the second half of games. Talk about what you're trying to do later in games with a number of your depth players getting action.

Swinney: "My thought process is I'm not trying to please fans. I'm trying to build a program. If they get bored with winning, that's their problem. I'm trying to play the guys who deserve to play and build our team (for the long-term)."

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