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September 12, 2012

Dabo Swinney

DABO SWINNEY:  Well, we're coming off a good win.  We're excited to be 2 and 0 and to have a good start.  But we've got a lot of improving to do as a team, and we've got another opportunity to hopefully grow our team this week and playing Furman.  This is a game that's great for our community and really expecting a very good crowd.  This is a team that I'm impressed with watching them.  They're well‑coached.  They're 0 and 2, but they lost 24‑21 to Sanford, a triple overtime loss to Coastal and really could have won either game.  They've turned the ball over and that's hurt them.  But this is a team that is very capable on both sides.
Hopefully it'll be a great day here in the valley, a 3:09 kickoff, and hopefully we'll have a big crowd and everybody will enjoy themselves and come in and watch the Tigers plays in the Paladins.
As far as our team, hopefully we can continue to just improve in building our program.

Q.  I just wanted to get your thoughts on the news this morning about Notre Dame coming on board in all sports but football but will be playing ACC teams in football from time to time.
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, I think that's great news for our conference.  You know, it really, I think, says a lot, a program like Notre Dame to want to come, and I'm sure they could have their pick of conferences.  And for them to choose the ACC is, I think, a great thing.  They're making a commitment, I think, to play five conference football games even though they're not going to be a football member right now, but for them to make that commitment, I think that's very strong.
So it's exciting.  It further secures this conference's strength of schedule, and moving forward as we get into the playoff scenarios and all that stuff, I definitely think it is a real positive for the ACC.

Q.  I want to ask you a little bit about the progression of your defense.  You have a new defensive coordinator, things have gone great in your first two games, but that's still when you take a look at overall in the conference you're still toward the middle of the pack or the end of the pack.  What are some of the things you guys are working on defensively to improve that area?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, and we have made improvement.  The one thing I would point out is we're a very young group over there, and as I've said from the beginning of the season, we're going to be a few weeks kind of a work in progress, getting this thing really coached up.  And I'm very impressed with what we've been able to do in a short period of time.
These guys held Auburn to one touchdown, and although we gave up a couple of plays that we'd like to have back, this past week we did some really good things in the first half‑‑ the first 45 plays or so.  We played very good defensive football and complemented our offense very well and really had the game under control at halftime.
We've made improvement, but the big thing for us defensively is we've got to improve our rush defense, and it's just really them doing their job from a gap control standpoint, fundamentally containing the ball the proper way, just everybody doing their job.  I think they understand it, but it's just the execution of some things fundamentally and technique wise that we've got to improve on because we've given up a couple of big plays where if you leave a gap open, good offenses and good backs, they'll find it, and that's happened to us a couple times.
And then we've got to continue to improve our tackling, although I would say I've been fairly pleased with our tackling.  We've tackled pretty good.  But that's definitely an area that we can continue to improve.  I thought our secondary got better last week.
If we can just keep making some incremental progress, we've got a chance to be a pretty good defense when this thing is all said and done.

Q.  I was wondering if you had a status update on David Beasley and when a decision might be made on whether he plays this Saturday or how much?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, we're going to watch him again today at practice.  He looked pretty good this morning.  We're optimistic that he's going to be available, but it's pretty much right now still a day‑to‑day decision and might be a game‑time decision as far as him playing.  But I'll know more this afternoon.

Q.  And with Kalon Davis coming in last week, how do you think he did when he was kind of suddenly called on, and what's he got to do to kind of keep pressure on Beasley for the left guard starting spot?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, Kalon, it was actually very close going into the Auburn game between David and Kalon, but David clearly won the job.  He was definitely the guy that was out front, he earned that in the scrimmages, so he earned the right to get the first opportunity at it, and then he performed really, really good against Auburn.  I mean, he played very well.
But we anticipated being able to play Kalon, but we just got in such a good rhythm in that Auburn game, we just let him keep going.  But it was good to see Kalon get in there last week, and he did some good things.  He really did some good things.  I think we've got a nice, healthy competition there, kind of keep both of those guys hungry and on edge and trying to get better every single week.
But we'll see what happens this weekend with David, but I don't have any doubt, I feel a lot better about this position today than I did in camp going into that first game just because I've seen them both play a little bit now.

Q.  Are you okay with Notre Dame joining the non‑BCS Bowl package even though they won't be a full‑fledged member for football?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, yeah.  I think they bring a lot to this conference, and who knows what the future holds.  But I think it probably will even enhance our Bowl opportunities down the road and TV and all that kind of stuff as this thing moves forward.  Again, I see it as a real positive.

Q.  And speaking of real positives, now you've got Sammy Watkins back for this week and you haven't lost with him being gone.  What did you learn about your team in these two games without Sammy?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, hopefully they learned a lot about themselves.  Our team is bigger than any one player or coach, and it hopefully gives our team even more confidence to know that they can win without Sammy Watkins.
I think it gives Sammy a lot of confidence in knowing that, hey, listen, he doesn't have to be the savior, he just needs to do his job.  This team has proven they can win without him.  But it certainly is a good thing to get him back.  I don't think we're going to be worse‑‑ in fact, I told him the other day, we're 2 and 0 now, don't mess this thing up.
But he's excited to get back on the field, and I'm excited to see him.  I'm pretty sure he'll probably show up pretty quick.

Q.  Just wondering how you keep the guys focused and motivated for this game when you've got Florida State on the schedule next.
DABO SWINNEY:  We just do what we do.  We have a daily focus.  We have a way that we prepare weekly, and that just doesn't change.  Everybody asks that question, but as I tell the team all the time, you only get 12 games, and you'd better enjoy each one of them and you'd better make the most of all of them.  All you've got to do is look at history and you see where teams that lost their focus end up costing them.  Virginia Tech a couple years ago lost to James Madison, and they went on to win 11 games.  Well, that 12th win might have made a difference for them playing in the National Championship‑‑ being in the National Championship hunt.  We all know about Michigan being fifth in the country and losing to App State.  You saw what happened this week at Arkansas.  Not that those aren't good programs, but I know that that's sometimes a tendency for people to look ahead.  But if we do our job as coaches and we have the kind of leadership I think we have on this team, we'll stay focused on the task at hand, and that is preparing daily with purpose, just bringing great effort and attitude every day and just trying to win today, don't worry about tomorrow, let's get better today.
That's how we do it, and all we're worried about is Furman and trying to get better as a football team and trying to just play a very, very good game and play to our standard, not an opponent, and it won't be any different next week.  It's not going to be any different then.  Everybody is going to talk about that game, and it's not going to be any different.  We're going to prepare the exact same.
Again, you've got 12 of these games.  A season isn't made or broken on one game.  You've got to just keep preparing the same and try to do your best each week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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