home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


September 7, 2011

Dabo Swinney

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
COACH SWINNEY: Good to be with you guys today. As Mike just said there, we are coming off a good opening win, and it's good to play a game and I think we can certainly get better. We have got a lot to learn from this first game and a lot of mistakes, correctible mistakes, especially from some of our younger guys. So look forward to playing again this week and trying to just improve.
It's military appreciation day here at Clemson and that's always a special time here with our military heritage. It should be a great day as we play Wofford.
Injury-wise, we are in pretty good shape. We have got one guy right now that's doubtful, and that's Rashard Hall. Other than that, we are all hands on board here.

Q. What was the biggest difference offensively between the first and second half or was it a matter of the guys getting comfortable in a game situation?
COACH SWINNEY: Just settling down, execution. Tajh did not play very well the first half, and he really was just kind of tight for some reason, and I don't know if -- just kind of opening game or whatever but really settled down at the half, and we just executed so much better in the second half and put it all together. Defensively it was pretty solid all day.
Second half, I thought the game got better as we went as a team and held them to three points and really just kind of unloaded offensively in the second half. So that was really good to see, but that was the biggest thing, just execution.

Q. What did you or Chad say to Tajh at the half or at any point to calm him down and get him back on track?
COACH SWINNEY: We just talked about, you know, just kind of went over things that happened in the first half and said, hey, listen, just settle down and just stick to the basics. Put your eyes on the right things, just focus on the process, and not get caught up in other things.
Everybody take a deep breath here and let's go be who we are and let's just do what we do. We have got to start converting some third downs, and we are going to get a rhythm and that was it.
There wasn't anything -- it wasn't a time to get mad or anything like. That it was just really more, hey, listen, settle down and just do what you're coached to do, and everything's going to be fine. Because they were not really doing anything drastically different or anything like that that was causing us problems. We were just really kind of having some self-inflicted wounds there that first half. That was about it.

Q. You got three long field goals from Catanzaro --
COACH SWINNEY: That's the "Cat Man."

Q. Cat Man. Tell me what you saw in that aspect of the kicking game. Obviously you had to be really pleased with those results.
COACH SWINNEY: Definitely, it was great to see that, and he really hit some pressure kicks for us in that first half to keep us in it. Really proud of him. But that's how he's performed in practice, and I think he's just a very mentally tough young man that had a tough year last year, and now he's, you know, just growing up and maturing before our eyes.
Hopefully he will continue to do his job, but the snap was very consistent by Fajgenbaum, and our hold, Spencer Benton, did a great job, and he just seems to have a lot more confidence. Last year was the first time, you know, he had been out in that type of game environment. He did a small school in high school, and just had some tough moments. But we are going to need those type of performances from him as we move forward if we are going to have a better season this year.

Q. How far out do you think his leg would be good?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, you know, probably 52, I might try 55-yarder with him, but to be honest with you, the longer ones like that, 55, we would probably go with Spencer Benton. Spencer is kind of -- that's how we have designated him. He's our long guy. Although I feel comfortable with Catanzaro from 50 in. I think he's got plenty of leg. 52 or so might be toward his max, although he'll probably tell you -- I love his attitude, "Hey, 55 Coach, I got it."
So he thinks he can make a long on that and nothing wrong with that.

Q. You and Florida State each have games coming up this weekend where you are going to be big favorites and you've got really tough ones coming the following weekend. What challenges do you face, persuading the kids to stay focused where they are at and what do you see yourself being able to achieve? People talk about game one to game two is sometimes where you make your biggest strides, but can you do that with the way the schedule is set up?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, for us, we have just committed to a standard of best. We talk about that all the time. Listen, hey, everybody's got to be committed to doing their best. And really, you either -- you either perform and work to that standard or you don't. It shouldn't matter who you play. We can't all of a sudden next week, we are going to play Auburn and say, all right, we are going to really try hard. If that's the way we are going to be, then you're going to have a lot of inconsistency.
We just have to focus on our daily preparation, this is what we do. It's a faceless, nameless opponent every week. We just have to focus on the things that we control. And that's our preparation, our attitudes, work ethic; everybody be accountable to the man in the mirror of hey, you are either performing to the standard, or you're not. That's really all we talk about.
For us, hey, listen, it doesn't take a lot to motivate these guys, because we are coming off of a disappointing season, and you only get 12 days, and those 12 days determine your whole year. They determine everything, how people talk to you and so forth, and what they think about you and what the media writes about you nationally and all of those things.
So for us, we can't take anybody for granted. We have got to bring it every week, every play, and you know, you've got to play to that standard. And if we do that, when it's all said and done, I think we can be a good football team.
Wofford is a team, we certainly can't take for granted. These guys won the Southern conference last year, and you know, they led the nation in rush in their division and they present a huge challenge. If you don't prepare against these guys, you know, they are very capable of beating you. Heck, we can just look at our own history here, in 1981, Clemson won the National Championship, they played Wofford that year and was down at the half. This was the National Championship team.
So we can't take anybody for granted. We have got to prepare every week to just do our very best. And as far as improving, you know, the biggest thing for us and we played -- actually one of the better opening games that maybe I've ever been around as far as just we didn't have a lot of missed assignments, we only had two penalties for ten yards. We had very few procedural issues, some of those type of things that happen in a first game.
So I want to see us be consistent with that, first of all and I want to see some of those young mistakes that we made, you know, I want to see us learn from them. And let's not make the same mistakes. Let's correct those things that were very correctible from the first game and to be quite honest I want to see us pick up where we left off. Let's put four quarters together, as opposed to playing a strong half.

Q. Wonder what you thought of Stephone Anthony's debut, and are you looking at red shirting Eric Mac Lain?
COACH SWINNEY: We are looking at red shirting Eric Mac Lain. We hike him. We think he's going to be a very good player. We have some depth at his position with a couple of older guys right now, and we are trying to hold him. That's the plan there.
As far as Stephone, he was just outstanding. His debut in, my eyes, was kind of like Sammy Watkins debut on the offensive side of the ball. Just really played well. Had a sack, had a pass break up that was almost an interception. You know, plays very fast, very smart, and just really, you know, got his career going in a very strong fashion Saturday.

Q. Don't know if you've been asked about Phillip price yet; what's your assessment of how he played in his first game at left tackle?
COACH SWINNEY: He played very well. In fact, he was the offensive lineman of the week for us, just can't say enough good things about him. He's had a great camp, great spring, summer, the whole deal. And he has developed into, we think, a very solid player. His debut here was going against a guy that's going to be drafted, no doubt, really, really good player, and Massequa (ph) he did a really nice job.

Q. With Hall and the possibility of surgery that you mentioned yesterday, is that something he's going to address after the season or a decision that he might have to make during the season?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, as I was saying yesterday it's really hard to answer that. At some point he's going to have to have it fixed and when he does that he's going to probably be out about six weeks.
So obviously he wants to make that -- prolong that and the interesting thing about it is he doesn't have a lot of pain. He feels like he can go play. It's just going to be a decision that's based on how his knee responds to playing. As I said we are going to try to hold him this week. We have this special brace that's coming in tomorrow.
I want to see him practice. He's going to try to play against Auburn and it's either going to swell up, or it's not, because it really didn't swell up after this game. He could have kept playing. So that's going to determine; if this brace helps and there's no swelling or anything like that, then obviously he wants to keep playing.
But you know, if we have a reaction, then we'll have to probably go ahead and do the surgery. But obviously we want to do it later rather than sooner. But even yesterday he ran with the team and looked good and feels good, but there's something that at some point it's going to have to be repaired.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297