CLEMSON - Senior running back C.J. Spiller talks about Maryland and updates his injury status.
Dabo Swinney's Press Conference
Swinney: Good to be with y'all today. We aren't going to spend a lot of time talking about last week. Obviously a tough loss for us but there was a lot of positives coming out of that game. Our football team is getting better. That's what we see that's what we know. Our kids are laying it on the line. As you look across college football ... you see teams really high and really low. This team has come to play and I'm proud of that. We had a great meeting yesterday and a really good practice. These kids are responding well. We put some film together yesterday that we called the win reel. We have to learn how to win games. That's a mentality. I have to look at are we in position to win? Are we giving our kids a chance to win.
We looked at eight plays ... if we win three of them we win the game. Those are critical. We had a very productive day yesterday and practice was good. The biggest thing is we are getting better. I don't have any doubt about the fact we are doing the right things. If we continue to do that the wins will come.
We gave up zero sacks. Landon Walker- really proud of him. Also proud of Kourtnei Brown for giving us a good look last week in going against Hughes. We really ran the ball well in the fourth quarter. This year in the fourth quarter we have 30+ carries for more than 200 yards. That's over five yards per carry. Can't say enough about C.J. Spiller - he's doing something only one other player in college football history has done.
The defense has gotten some key stops for us and gotten a lot of turnovers. We are missing some opportunities - whether that's converting in the red zone or giving up touchdowns in the red zone. We have to play better assignment football. TCU did a good job of spreading us out and playing assignment football. We missed an easy field goal the other night - we have to do a better job there. I feel like our schedule is going to pay off for us. I think we are going to be a battle tested bunch.
This group this week, they are off to a slow start but they have a coach up there that has been there for a long time and has a tremendous track record. They got off to a slow start last year, beat Middle Tennessee and then they came in here and beat us. We have all the respect for them in the world. They've yet to play a conference game and have eight straight now. It's a new beginning for them, a fresh start. They'll be ready to play. We will get the best Maryland effort of the year- I assure you of that. They beat us last year. If we are going to be a good team we are going to have to go on the road and win.
Looking at their offense, they are very very balanced in what they do. They are multiple in what they do with their groupings which creates some serious game planning during the week. You have to have your coverages match that. They want to be able to run the ball but they will take homerun shots. They are tough, they are physical- they have always have been.
This kid Smith- is leading the league in all-purpose yardage, not C.J. Spiller. Their quarterback is a good player- a little better runner than what we'd like him to be. I'm sure they will test us as we prepare to handle their quarterback.
Defensively they are young. They have a new coordinator that is completely different scheme on that side of the ball. Night and day from what they have been. They are a four-man front but they seem to go more to an odd front with a lot of blitz packages. They are getting better. They did a good job against Rutgers- but there were a lot of turnovers in that game. Their defense held them really really good. It's a team that I see is really improving on that side of the ball. Impressive safeties and really really big guys inside. Good matchup- we will leave here around 12:20 going to Greenville as far as flying out of there. Then wake up and play. Looking forward to it.
Will the TCU loss beat you twice?
Swinney: No. These kids have come to play. These guys have shown up and played with great effort four games in a row. We don't worry about the scoreboard and the last game. We just have to play smarter. Attention to detail. Cut out some of these critical penalties that we tend to get. We have to do a better job. They will be ready to play.
Do you have to win a close game to figure out how to win a close game?
Swinney: Maybe. I just think it's the understanding of the importance of the attention to detail. When the motion comes this way, you have to be inside and not outside for a reason so that we are in position to win. We've lost to two good teams. We were in position to win. The other thing is we have to win the fourth quarter. We had the lead in both games - that killer instinct on both sides of the ball. I want to win a National Championship ... the only thing we know about this team right now is we are not a National Championship team. If we were, you win those games. They make that play. That's the only thing I know about this team - but I think we have a chance to be a really good team. Could we be a division championship team? Maybe. A conference championship team? Maybe. We are going to get another opportunity- there's going to be another close game. There will be those eight plays. We've got some young players- let's embrace that. We don't make any excuses. We show up to play. This team will continue to play. There are a bunch of winners in this group. I see it in their eyes. I hear it in their voices. I see it the team meetings. We are doing the right things. We are improving.
What is different from this team to compared to the other .500 teams we've seen in years past.
Swinney: The past is a bucket of ashes. This is a different football team. This is a different staff. It's all about today. It's about what we put on that film and what happens on that practice field
Most coaches expect their teams to be 4-0 through the first four games of the season. Did you?
Swinney: I certainly do. I can't stand to lose. I go to my room and close the door because I'm so mad. I'm not a good loser. I play pick-up basketball and I hate losing there. We could be 3-1 after playing a different opponent but I'm glad we didn't. To be where we need to go we had to face an opponent like TCU. We are on the right track.
Is this a game that could be a crossroads type of game for your team?
Swinney: No. I just think we are getting ready for the next game. It's a long season and there's a lot of ball left to be played. I'm just worried about us to continue to get better as a football team. That's what I'm focused on. If we continue to do that the wins are going to come.
Who is in control of the clock management?
Swinney: Your quarterback is always in control on the field. Your head coach is always in change?
Is there any danger of getting your playmakers too much?
Swinney: Getting it to them too much. No! I don't see any danger in that. If I lose, it ain't going to be because 28 had three touches. I told y'all that. He's such a humble kid, he doesn't get an ounce of the credit he deserves. He's only two and a half games and he's unbelievable what he's doing. He's done things that only one other player in the history of college football has done- that's Reggie Bush. That's incredible. Same thing with No. 6- we'll continue to get them the ball. Michael Palmer needs to be a little more consistent. Rendrick is another guy we need to continue to go.
C.J. is 65 yards away from being the ACC's all-time ru
Swinney: He's a guy that has a lot of all-time's by his name. First-time's by his name. To think that he's played three years and two games and already accomplished that- this guy is dynamic. He's as explosive a player as there is in college football. He's had a 60+ yard play in every game this year. That's amazing to me. This guy is special. He's played tough. He's protecting better. He's sticking his hat on linebackers when he gets in there. He's leading. He's after the game- leading. He's really mature and doing the right things. And he's so humble.
Are you disappointed his name isn't mentioned more for the Heisman?
Swinney: We got to win. We've got to help him. I wouldn't trade anybody for him. If we can have team success and he can continue to put together the kind of numbers he is - he could be in the hunt. But just after four games, the toughness he has displayed and the consistency has been impressive.
There is a different edge about you this week. Why?
Swinney: It's just 2-2. I don't like it. I can't do a dad-gum thing about it but we can do something about it Saturday. That's what you do. I'm not happy where we are from a record standpoint. I'm happy where we are as far as the effort we are getting. These kids expect to win and we are in position to win. The next step is learning how to win- and that's coming.
Can you assess your play at quarterback?
Swinney: Did a lot of good things Saturday. It wasn't ideal conditions. Y'all probably were somewhere dry (laughing). Here's a guy in a pouring down rain storm making big throws. He missed some plays. But same thing- he's a young player in a huge role that will continue to get better. Anybody that thinks he's going to be perfect hasn't played the game. He's not going to be perfect but he gives us a great chance to win. Took care of the ball- no turnovers. The biggest thing Saturday was there were plays there that weren't made that he needs to make.
From a cohesion perspective, do you have to select four
Swinney: I don't think we've had four receivers get 40 or 50 snaps a game at all. We got four or five guys- that's what we are working with right now. That's all we've got. They have to step up and play better. It's not about potential- it's about performance and production. Starting on the practice field. We certainly need guys to emerge there.
Swinney: We don't have one of them over there. We've got them all over here. We got the right guys. We are young and are going to continue to develop those guys. Marquan has shown some flashes. Jacoby is solid. Ashe is steady and plays with the most effort. He's the most consistent as far as doing his job right. He had one drop Saturday but has been consistent in everything else. Clear needs to get going. Xavier is just getting back. Jaron Brown is the guy I think that can emerge for us given the opportunity based on practice.
What is your thought on Korn saying you promised him playing time every game this year?
Swinney: I hadn't seen that. My intention has been to play Korn every game. That's been my plan. But at Georgia Tech we were down 24-0 and I got to play my best guys. Saturday it's a driving rain storm- again it wasn't the right time to get him in there. My intention is to get him in there every game but circumstances change that.
We've heard a lot of the one play away menality over the years. It's probably tough for you to know how close you are. How close are you?
Swinney: How long was he here? Coach Bowden was here for 10 years. I've been here four games as a head coach. Three years from now if we are having the same problems get somebody else in here. Fair question. I hate to bring up Alabama but that's my alma mater. He went 6-6 in his first year. That's a fair question based off of what you are seeing and you can think what you want and speculate all you want to. But this a different football team. There's a lot of ball left.
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