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ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE MEDIA CONFERENCE


October 15, 2014


Dabo Swinney


COACH SWINNEY:¬† Another really tough challenge for us this week.¬† We're proud of our guys, how they competed against an outstanding Louisville team last week.¬† They were number one in the country in defense.¬† We got another very balanced football team.¬† They're fourth in the nation in rushing, top 10 in defense.¬† So just a very, very impressive team on tape.¬† Well‑coached. ¬†Great respect for what Coach Addazio has done there.
We're going to have to play well.  This is going to be a physical matchup.  We're going to have to really do a great job of running the football ourselves and taking care of the ball, try to not give those guys short fields and things like that because they absolutely do a great job with their rushing attack, especially with their quarterback playing at the level he's playing at.
But we're looking forward to it.  It's always a great trip up to Boston.  It's a really neat place to go and play a ballgame.  Our guys enjoy making that trip.  Looking forward to heading up there Friday.

Q.  In the wake of autograph investigations at some other schools, how have you addressed those situations with your team?  How concerned are you about your players being involved in such things?
COACH SWINNEY:  It's not just that.  Good Lord, there's 50 million things that can get you in trouble.  But we constantly just try to challenge our guys to do what's right.  It's really that simple.  We challenge them every day, all year long, to make good decisions.  We cover all of these topics numerous times throughout the year, not just as a football program, but our compliance department as well, the things they have to do over there throughout the year.
But there's so many things that you don't control as a coach.  At the end of the day you just have to challenge your guys, Hey, listen, do what's right.  There's rules that we all have to follow.  Whether you like them or not really doesn't matter.  We have to follow the rules.  When you don't, there's consequences, whether it's a coach not following the rules or a player not following the rules.  There's consequences that come with that.
We try to be proactive.  Everybody is going to learn from their own experience.  That's for sure.  That's the way it is, life.  You touch a hot stove and get burned, guess what, you're going to learn from your own experience.
Wise people learn from other's experiences.  We try to take every opportunity that we get, whether it's where somebody has done something that's not smart at some other school and we try to take that opportunity to say, All right, guys, here's what happened over here, let's learn from this, okay?  Let's make sure that we all understand what can happen if you make a bad decision.
It's all kind of topics, whether it's signing autographs or having bee bee guns on campus, you're always trying to educate your guys.

Q.  Looking at your upcoming matchup, what can you say about what you're expecting to see on defense?
COACH SWINNEY:  These guys are typical BC as far as just big, strong, physical guys.  They have Mihalik in there, he's 6'9".  I've watched him the last few years.  He has gotten better and better.  He's just physically grown into that frame.  He is an excellent player.
87, Moore.  No.90.  I can't really say a lot of these guys' names, I'm not going to mess them up.  But 97, 93, these are big, strong guys that do a great job at the point of attack.  They play in a lot more man coverage than I've seen them play in years past.  I think this is probably the best secondary they've had.  Linebackers are flying around making plays.
They're not as big as they've been.  In the past they've had 6'3", 6'4" guys at linebacker.  These are more 6'1", 6'2" guys.  But they're just as physical, really doing a good job for them.  This is an excellent group.  When you break it down and you look at them, they're eighth in total defense, ninth in rushing defense, 18th in pass defense in the country.  Playing with a lot of confidence.
For us it's going to be about execution.  We got to be able to run the football.  We got to finish drives with points.  Last year we had a pretty good amount of yards but we didn't get a lot of points.  And points is the name of the game.
We got to eliminate negative plays, play with good tempo, all those type of things that can help us.

Q.  As far as your quarterback situation, using both of them or one of them at certain times, what can you say moving forward, what you've been seeing out of them this season?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, we've obviously had a change.  It really wasn't because Cole played bad.  It was more that this freshman we have was just unreal.  That's just kind of what happened there.  But we have all the confidence in the world in Cole Stoudt.  We expect him to play at a high level and lead us to victory.  We know he's capable of doing that.
The question mark is behind him.  Nick Schuessler is getting a ton of work.  He got all the second team reps last week because Cole didn't practice.  He's getting all the second team reps this week.  That's been good for him from a development standpoint.  It's hard to rep three quarterbacks.  Usually your third quarterback is a mental rep kind of guy.
I'm pleased with what I've seen from him.  He just doesn't have a lot of game experience.  Those will be the top two guys.  Then we have a transfer in here from Stanford named David Olson who is our third guy.
But Cole will go the distance while Deshaun is out.  Again, we expect him to play at a high level.

Q.  Was Cole able to go through everything in practice that he would normally be able to do?
COACH SWINNEY:  Yeah, he looked good.  Took every rep, looked good.  Very focused and dialed in.  It was a good start, good Monday, Tuesday so far with our prep.

Q.  Any concern on Saturday?  During the week he's not getting hit.  Any concern that he takes one bad hit Saturday?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, we're preparing Nick to be ready to play.  That's what we do.  You got to always have that next guy ready, too.  We challenge these guys, next man up.  You've got to be ready.  You never know when your opportunity's coming.
It is football.  We can't put them out there in a padded cage.  Anytime you run out there between the lines in this game, there's a chance that you might get hurt.  That's just the nature of the game.  That's why we work so hard in trying to get the next guy ready.
Hopefully he'll be able to stay healthy.  I've never had a quarterback injured.  This is the first time I've ever had this in my career as far as my starter being hurt and can't play.  They've always been able to play.  Tajh Boyd never missed a start ever.  Kyle Parker didn't miss a start.
Little different territory for me in that regard.  You can't sit around and worry about that.  You just got to put a good plan together, go execute the plan.  If somebody does get hurt, whether it's at the quarterback or whatever, you put the next man in and try to find a way to win.

Q.  With the offense, with Cole, the whole unit, how do you maximize what you can get out of the offensive unit?
COACH SWINNEY:  Well, Cole won the job.  He was the starter coming out of spring, coming out of camp.  It's not like we have a guy who we don't think highly of.  I think our guys will rally.  We're not going to change a whole lot as far as what we do.  It's about how we do it and our performance.
Again, we expect our guys to play to a certain standard.  Nothing changes because Deshaun Watson is not playing.

Q.  Obviously with Boston College being one of the destination spots on the ACC schedule, how meaningful is this game for you when you realize it was a team that you scored your first win at Clemson against?
COACH SWINNEY: ¬†It will always be special for me, it really will.¬† In fact, it's ironic that we're playing Boston College this week because this is the week that I was named interim coach.¬† That was the site of my very first win.¬† It's just a moment I'll never forget ever.¬† It just was a special time.¬† It was just a difficult time for a lot of people.¬† To see that group of guys come together.¬† I remember I think we had like a 17‑point lead at the half.¬† Then, man, Boston College fought back.¬† It was a back and forth game.¬† Allen Kelly had a huge touchdown catch.¬† We had to get a stop on defense on fourth down.¬† There was just a lot of great moments.¬† It was an excellent, hard‑fought game.
Like I said, to get that first win, I had no idea what started that night, but it kind of got things started as far as me having an opportunity to have this job.
To still be here in 2014 all the way from 2008, I'm thankful that I got the opportunity.  I'm more thankful for the young men that fought so hard to try to get it done.  It was a very special moment on the field and in the locker room with those guys.  That's what I remember the most.

Q.  What is it about the two teams that seem to bring out the best in each other?
COACH SWINNEY:  Good players, first of all.  Goodness gracious, I remember a couple nightmare games with Matt Ryan, some overtime games.  I think the programs have a lot of respect for one another, as well.  I think the fan bases have a lot of respect for one another.
It's a division game, not just a conference game.  It's been kind of a natural rivalry, if you will, since they've come into the league, one that we've enjoyed being a part of, competing with those guys.
I just think they have a lot of class in their program at Boston College from the administration to the coaches to the players, how they do things, how they compete.  I think our people are the same way.

Q.  You mentioned the play of Brian Mihalik.  When you look at him, does his presence kind of change the complexion of how you attack their defense?
COACH SWINNEY:  He's a giant.  You don't see many guys playing football that are 6'9", legit.  And he's really improved.  When he first was playing, first got there, he was just kind of a tall guy running around out there.  Hadn't quite grown into his body, really developed.  But now he's really become a very good player.  I mean, technically, he's so much more physical, stronger.  He's just a more productive guy.  They've done a great job of developing him.  His presence is definitely a factor.  You throw in lanes and screens, things like that, he has the ability to affect you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports


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