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September 10, 2014

Dabo Swinney

COACH SWINNEY:  Well, coming off of a very good performance by our team, and really proud of how they played for four quarters.  Mentally I thought we improved drastically.  That was a major focus of ours.
Now we're into this open date and looking forward to having a little extra time to get ready for the best team in the country in Florida State.  Not often that you get an opportunity to play the No.1 team in the country and I think that this is a tremendous, tremendous football team in every phase:  Great kicking game, all senior offensive line, obviously the Heisman quarterback, great skill, and then defensively just very talented and deep, as well.
Going to have to have great preparation but we are looking forward to the opportunity to head down to Tallahassee next week and having a great match‑up.

Q.  You guys started with Georgia, you're going to Florida State.  At this point have you noticed a better‑prepared team, more prepared team in the third week than other seasons, or has it been about the same?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, I mean, I think we're about the same.  I mean, this is the first time that we started out 0‑1.  That's about the only difference.
As far as just our preparation and where we are, I think we're right on schedule.  I think we've got a chance to have a very good football team and have an outstanding season.  But certainly have a difficult schedule here early, and it's not going to get any easier as we move through it. 
We just try to stay focused, literally.  I know it's coach talk, but truly we have to stay focused one week at a time and then learning from our results that we get, good or bad, and keep moving forward.  And at the end of the year, you look up and evaluate the totality of your season.
But I think where we are right now, we're in a good spot.  I like the health of our team.  I think we've got some very, very good young players that are getting some valuable experience, only two games in.  Would have preferred not to have had an open date.  I always like to play four or five games, but that's something we don't control.  So we'll take a little extra time and really work on some fundamentals of what we do and things like that, but also getting a little head start on Florida State.
I think we're in a good spot, as good as we can be in getting ready to head down to Tallahassee.

Q.  How is Tyshon Dye progressing?
COACH SWINNEY:  Really good.  Really good.  Actually just talked to him yesterday.  Just was talking to him about how he felt and all that.
I think he's in a good spot mentally.  We're kind of ramping some things up with him this week.  He's progressing well and when he's ready, he's ready, and whenever that is, that will be exciting because I'm really happy that he's kind of on the other side and has gotten through this difficult year, really, that he's been through and he can see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
Hopefully there's no setbacks or anything like that, and you never know when you're dealing with the type of injury that he's had.  I think that everybody is pleased right now with where he is.

Q.  I know one of the key matchups everybody is going to be looking at is their offensive line versus your defensive line, and you guys and they returned essentially everybody from the starting group a year ago.  How much of a benefit is that that there is some familiarity there with the players, or do you think that's going to play any role next week?
COACH SWINNEY:  I mean, it's a benefit for both teams.  They lost their center, that was it.  But they have got Austin who is a senior and has played, and everybody they have got is a senior.  Obviously we've got a bunch of seniors up front, too.  Got experience on experience and that's a great match‑up to watch.
But you know, they are familiar with each other.  It's not‑‑ I mean, these guys have been kind of battling against each other for the last several years, I guess since 2011 when they were all freshmen.
So very familiar with each other.  But it's a new year and guys have all worked hard to improve on both sides.

Q.  What do you think is going to be the biggest key to you guys being able to win that match up next week?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, we're going to have to play very well but the biggest thing is we have to take care of the ball.
Doesn't take a lot to figure that out.  We turned it over four times last year, and just put the ball on the ground, one of them in a score, just a scoop score for them defensively.  Those are the things that you just don't have that type of room for error when you are playing a great, great football team like Florida State.
We have to play a clean game.  Take care of the football and give ourselves a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.  We have to be able to run the ball.  We have got to pass the ball effectively.  Defensively, have to minimize the big play.  Can't have missed assignments.  We've got to tackle well, and we've got to play a very clean football game.

Q.  Earlier Vic Beasley said like the key is, he felt like that you guys pressured Jameis‑‑ throw the ball and get him to make turnovers.  Do you agree and is that the key to playing him is that kind of pressure?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, I don't think you can just sit back there and have a ham sandwich.  That's not going to be a good‑‑ they have got too good of skill outside and you can't cover those guys forever.  You've got to be able to disrupt the timing of the passing game and create pressure if you're going to have success against a great quarterback.  That's any week, any level of football.
But that's easier said than done.  Like we just talked about, they have got a very veteran offensive line that understands their protections, and Jimbo does a nice job in really doing a good job with the playaction to try to protect, as well, from a pressure standpoint.  We've got to win the line of scrimmage, first of all.
If you win the line of scrimmage, then good things happen.  We've got to do a great job coverage on the outside.  We didn't do a good job last year.  Gave up two really big plays in the passing game, where their guy was just better than our guy to be honest with you.  That's where we have to hopefully be able to win those matchups.
The ball is going to come out.  He's not going to hold the ball.  He's going to get rid of it, and you know, we've got to win some matchups.  We've got to have our fair share of those if we're going to have a chance to win it, especially at their place.
Certainly getting after the quarterback is a priority every single week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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