Swinney's Sunday Teleconference

Staff reports, Tigerillustrated.com
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 review his team's 34-7 win over Boston College on Saturday.

The No. 2 Tigers (4-0) will face No. 12-ranked Virginia Tech (4-0) on Saturday in Blacksburg in an 8 p.m. kickoff. Clemson opened as a 7-point favorite over the Hokies on Sunday.

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

Opening statements: "Proud of our team for another good, hard-fought victory. We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game. I thought BC played really well in a lot of areas, but I'm proud of our team. We're learning each week. We're a long way away from being perfect. I definitely think our best football is in front of us especially if we'll continue to learn from mistakes.

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"I loved how we finished the game. We rose up when we had to. We thought it would be a tough game. We have another big one this week. It's another big challenge on the road.

"Injury-wise, Adam Choice should be alright. He has a sore ankle. Trayvon Mullen, as y'all know, is in the concussion protocol. Hopefully Maverick Morris will be alright. Same with Dorian O'Daniel. We'll see where Mark Fields is. We should get D.J. Greenlee back in practice Monday and evaluate him.

"Defensively, I thought we played a consistent game. We missed some tackles and a couple of times we didn't have quite the effort to the ball that was satisfactory. But ... a lot of positives. We held them to less than 100 yards rushing. We had two interceptions from two young guys. We were very good on third down. We did a good job of being in position.

"Offensively, a weird day. 27 first downs. We had five rushing touchdowns and 342 yards rushing, 5.9 yards a carry. You'll win a bunch with that. We were really good on third down. We did have two turnovers and two fumbles that we got back. There were again several things that we can improve on. We'll get back to work with these guys tomorrow."

Q: If Mullen and Fields can't go, do you go with A.J. Terrell in the starting lineup?

Swinney: "Yes. That would be the next option there. We have a lot of confidence in him. He's got good instincts. K'Von Wallace is another guy who can play corner for us with no problem at all."

Q: Talk about (Virginia Tech QB) Josh Jackson. What do you see on film from him?

Swinney: "I've only watched about 45 minutes of tape but when we hang this phone up I'll be here until 10:30 tonight. I did see some of the West Virginia game. He's been incredibly efficient. He's taking care of the ball. He's had a lot of poise. He hasn't seemed overwhelmed. We expect him to be a real challenge for us."

Q: How tough is it to play there?

Swinney: "I've been up there a few times. We were fortunate to win up there in 2011. We got killed up there in 2006. They do a great job up there. It's one of the best environments in college football. The Virginia Tech folks do a great job of supporting their team. They bring great energy to their team and show up. It's a credit to coach Beamer and all the years he was there and what he built and to now with Justin Fuente and what he's accomplished. It'll be an awesome environment to go play in."

Q: Players of the game?

Swinney: "Travis Etienne and our entire offensive line. We did not have any negative plays by the O-line. 342 yards is just awesome. They played a lot of two-safety stuff. We got our backs to the second level a bunch. Just really pleased after watching the tape. We played pretty dang good up front. Christian Wilkins and Kendall Joseph were the defensive players of the game, Ray-Ray on special teams."

Q: How many players did Virginia Tech lose?

Swinney: "They lost more on offense and have pretty much everyone back on defense. Just a real experienced group. They've got a good team. They're playing with a lot of confidence and belief in what they're doing. We're going to have our hands full."

Q: From 1-10, how much confidence do you have in your placekicking game?

Swinney: "Hard one to answer. I'd have to say 10 right now because we did a solid job the other day. Based on what I've seen in practice, I have 100-percent confidence that Alex is prepared and ready to go do the job. Maybe I should change my answer a tad but all through fall camp he was around 80-percent. He had an excellent camp. He was around 78-82 percent. I like those odds."

Q: Greg Huegel worked hard on distance on kickoffs. How much is that overlooked by some ... the importance of getting good distance with kickoffs?

Swinney: "Certainly you'd love all the touchbacks you can get. You want it high and as far as possible. As for what we've lost? I don't know. That remains to be seen. Alex has the ability to kick the ball, and Christian Groomes had a couple of good kicks. We've been pretty good on kickoff coverage all year. I don't expect that to change."

Q: What was Dorian O'Daniel's injury, specifically?

Swinney: "Something in his quad, but I think he's going to be okay."

Q: How did you feel Kelly Bryant did in terms of handling himself in the pocket yesterday?

Swinney: "He did okay. Of the four games, I'd probably put this one fourth. It's not that he did terrible, but they really just made a decision to have us beat them rushing the ball. I think he got frustrated early. There were a couple of times where he held the ball too long. The biggest thing is that he played through it and made some nice plays both in the running and passing games. He's started four games. He's so far from a finished product. There are some things on tape that we get to coach him on. He's going to learn, grow and get better. I'm excited about getting with him tomorrow."

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