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September 29, 2010

Dabo Swinney

THE MODERATOR: We now welcome Coach Dabo Swinney from Clemson. We'll start with a brief opening statement and then take questions.
COACH SWINNEY: Good to be with you guys again this week. It's been a good open date for us. I think our team has practiced well and everybody's excited about getting back at it Saturday against a really, really talented team in Miami.
We've got a fairly healthy team. We're missing our starting left guard David Smith, he's definitely going to be out. It's homecoming. We'll have a lot of former players here. It's the first ACC game. So it's a big game for both teams and a lot at stake.
So they're really, really talented in all phases. We'll have our hands full but excited to get back to work on Saturday.

Q. Obviously Miami looked pretty good against Pittsburgh last week. What do you think you'll have to do better on offense than Pittsburgh did to contain Jacory and company?
COACH SWINNEY: We have to try not to give up big chunks of plays. They like to get their offense in chunks. They'll throw it up and they've got really talented whiteouts that we're going to have to do a great job with.
And the biggest thing is just getting pressure on the quarterback. We've definitely gotta affect him, not let him get comfortable in the pocket. He likes to be in the pocket.
We gotta make him get on the run, so to speak. And against these guys you better tackle well. Because if you don't, there's a lot of yards after the catch or some type of home run score. So we'll have to do a super job of that.
They've got an excellent group on offense. And they like to be balanced. They do a lot of formations and a lot of unbalanced type of alignments, which can create some issues for you as far as getting lined up on defense and stuff.
So hopefully just getting after the quarterback.

Q. The fact you hung so tough with Auburn in the last game, do you take some encouragement from that game?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, we're really disappointed we didn't win the game. We went down there to win the game. We thought that we were good enough and we could. And so that's really disappointing that we didn't accomplish our goal.
But certainly there's a lot of positives in the game that we can build upon. And that's what we've tried to do. Our guys -- we watched that film and I think we've learned some things. But they know that we have a chance to be a good team. I think we've got the right personnel and chemistry to be a good football team.
But we've got to take the next step and we've got to make some of those plays that are there and you've got to win games like this.

Q. Coach, could you just talk about the uncertainty over the offseason when you knew there was a possibility of losing Kyle to baseball?
COACH SWINNEY: What was the first part of that question?

Q. If you can talk about the uncertainty.
COACH SWINNEY: Well, it was a situation that was very unusual. I've never dealt with that. And not only there was some uncertainty, but once he got drafted, 26 overall, then our baseball team goes to the World Series. So we had to kind of wait all that out.
But Kyle and his family, they had a plan. And they stuck to the plan. They were great as far as keeping us in the loop and being informative. And they set a date of July the 20th and said, hey, we're going to have a decision. And that was like two weeks after the World Series.
So I was very thankful that we were able to get it resolved then. Because we needed to move on one way or the other. Had to get everybody dialed in on what we were going to do. When he decided he was coming back on the 20th, it was pretty much no problem for us, even though there were still negotiations going on with baseball all the way until August I think the 16th or something.
But he's done a good job. He came in, went right back to work. Had a good camp and he's off to a good start.

Q. Can you talk about the relief of the moment knowing that once he informed you there wouldn't have to be any drastic changes or back-up plans being enforced?
COACH SWINNEY: That was the real critical thing for us because we were going to have a freshman that's really talented that we're extremely excited about, think he's going to be a great player, but he's a freshman. And we just lived through that last year with Kyle Parker being a freshman. And really didn't want to have to do that. That's what we were going to have to do. Once he said he's coming back, all of a sudden now you've got a guy that's very talented but also he's been a starter for 14 games. He's taken your team to a championship game. He's won a Bowl game.
Now that has just helped us be a little bit more of an explosive offense earlier than we might have been without him early in the season.

Q. I presume, did you watch the Miami-Pitt game live last Thursday and what if anything did the coach's film show you about their defense that maybe you didn't see live on Thursday?
COACH SWINNEY: Oh, yeah, we watched -- I watched it, the second half live. I have my radio show on Thursday nights. But I got a chance to see the second half. When you're watching live TV you don't see all the alignments and the techniques and things like that.
You're watching kind of the TV copy, so to speak. But when we get the game film, the coach's copies, you're looking at an end zone copy, a wide copy. You're looking at tendencies and all kind of different stuff. But the one thing that jumps out at you, first of all, they're in year two on John Lovett's system on defense. You can tell. They've just got more in their package. They've got seven starters back. They play a lot of people. That's one of the things you may not catch when you're watching a TV copy. But they play a lot of people.
And they're pretty much what you see on TV. They're fast and athletic. And they're number one in the nation tackles for loss. And number two in sacks.
And they've played Ohio State and Pitt. They played some pretty good people. And they've got great stats to back it up. No. 1 total defense in our conference. We've got a ton of respect for them.

Q. What is the most important thing offensively you have to stress to make sure you don't wind up in second and third teams?
COACH SWINNEY: Our offensive line has got to win at the line of scrimmage. Just no doubt about it. We cannot let them tee off on us. We've got to do a great job at the point of attack, whether we're running the ball or throwing the ball.
And that's a big matchup. We're not giving up a lot of sacks. We're one of the better teams out there. And they're obviously one of the better teams in getting sacks. So that matchup is going to be critical throughout the game. And then for us it's about execution. It's about making the plays that are there.
We've left some plays on the field that are things that are totally within our control, which is what we focus on. The things that we control. And that's going to be critical. Because you don't get -- your margin for error is not very big when you're playing a team like Miami.
So we've got to make the plays that are there. And we've got to win at the line of scrimmage.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

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