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


October 10, 2012

Dabo Swinney

DABO SWINNEY:  Well, we are enjoying an open date.  I think it came at a great time for us.  It was a great win this past Saturday, especially, again, not playing for two weeks, to be able to get a big win like that against an opponent that's been very difficult for us the last couple years.  Proud of our guys and how they played.  We're going to take advantage of some time hopefully to heal some guys up, get a head start on Virginia Tech, give our guys the weekend off, and then come back and have a full game prep week for next weekend.
But right now, hey, we're in good shape; we're 5 and 1.  Proud of our guys; we seem to be improving.  But we've still got a lot of ball left to play, a long way to go, and looking forward to trying to have a great second half.  Just got to refocus and recommit and basically start from scratch against Virginia Tech.
With that, I'll take your questions.

Q.  I was curious if you agree with Nick Saban's recent declaration that he thinks hurry‑up offenses present a greater injury risk to defenses, and if you do agree, what can be done to reduce that risk?
DABO SWINNEY:  No, I don't agree with that at all.  I think that's not reality.  It's one guy's opinion, and everybody has their opinion.  To me if you look around‑‑ what makes college football fun is you have a lot of variety.  There's a lot of variety in college football.  You see different things from week to week, whether it's the spread or the "I" or the triple option or whatever, and I think that's one of the things that makes it an incredibly popular game is you just really never know from week to week.  If you really want the same old thing and everybody to be conformed then you've got that in the NFL.  That's what Sundays are for in my opinion.
But I don't agree with that at all.  I think that we have a play clock, and if you look at us, we substitute all the time.  We're constantly changing personnel.  We play fast, but we're constantly changing personnel, constantly multiple formations and shifts and personnel groupings.
Now, when you do that, the defense has to be allowed to change personnel, and that's the refs' job, to manage that part.  But we don't just put the same 11 guys out there and play them for 80 plays.  You know, I don't know if there's a lot of teams that do that.
But I just think that we've got a great game, and the variety makes it even better.  But everybody is‑‑ some people like vanilla ice cream, some people like chocolate, some people like strawberry.  It's kind of to each his own.  But we're happy with what we do right now, but everybody, again, has to have their own philosophy and be committed to it.  But I don't agree with that assessment or comments.

Q.  I was just interested, last year DeAndre Hopkins had a really fine year but he was kind of overshadowed by Sammy and the year he had.  With getting the start, fast start this year, can you talk about how he's emerged as a go‑to guy even since Sammy has come back?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, I mean, he's‑‑ to me really not much has changed.  He was a go‑to guy last year.  I think he had over 70 catches and over 1,000 yards receiving.  You know, he's pretty much a go‑to guy since the day he's arrived at Clemson.  He's just different in that his‑‑ when he came in here as a true freshman, he was a good player, a very talented, young player but still had a lot of developing to do physically and mentally.
And then last year he took another step forward and was tremendous.  But the reason he got overshadowed is because Nuke had been here, Sammy Watkins had just gotten here, and you just don't anticipate a true freshman doing what Sammy did.  I think that's why he kind of stole all the headlines, because it was his first time here.
Sammy came in here a little differently, more physically prepared, he was 200‑something pounds, and really from a technical standpoint and just picking the game up, he was off the charts, when you think about him being a true freshman.
So I think that's probably the biggest thing.  But Nuke, again, is a guy that has been great since he got here.  He's just been developing.  And the biggest part of his development has been physical.  He's developed mentally, but the physical part has really allowed him to become a dominant player.  He was probably 170‑something, maybe 180 when he got here; he's 200‑something pounds now, strong.  He had never had an off‑season.  He's always played basketball.  This was the first year he didn't play basketball.  So he spent from January all the way to August really developing physically, and he's just so much stronger.  And with that strength comes confidence.
So he's‑‑ and then he got off to a really good start, and we're really not doing anything different, we're not forcing things, we're calling the same plays we've always called, but he's just continuing to have a great season.
And then Sammy has only played in three games, and people have paid pretty close attention to him, and Nuke has gotten a lot of one‑on‑one coverage and he's won the majority of those battles.  Just a great player, and really proud of the season he's having.

Q.  Do you think you've ever had two receivers of the quality you have right now with Hopkins and Watkins?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, I mean, I've had a lot of good groups.  I mean, they're as good as probably any we've had around here.  Back when I first came to Clemson, we had Derrick Hamilton and Kevin Youngblood, Airese Curry, those were pretty talented guys and fun to coach, but we were a little bit different style of play.  We were pretty much all pass as opposed to what we do now.  We really want to have balance and run the football.
But these two guys are probably right there at the top.

Q.  How would you assess where your defense is at this stage of the season, and where are the improvements that you're looking for in that unit?
DABO SWINNEY:  I think we're improving.  I think we've had two‑‑ the last two weeks, I think I've seen some solid improvement, in particular up front.  We're really pleased with what I see taking place.  We've got some guys really growing up right before our guys.  There's a lot of things maybe that the naked eye doesn't see but we certainly do from a coaching standpoint.  I really like the development.
I think Corey Crawford is really coming on, Tavaris Barnes is starting to show some signs that we are excited about from that young group, and then all those D‑tackles, Grady, DeShawn Williams, Josh Watson, DJ Reader, Carlos Watkins, Rod Byers, all those guys, we just feel like we've got a solid group there that's very much improved from when we started the season.
We've still got a ways‑‑ they're learning every day, and they're applying that learning, and that's what's exciting about what I'm seeing.
I think that we've got some young linebackers that are coming on for us and developing.  We're excited about Travis Blanks.  Gary Peters is a guy that's kind of stepped up and seized the moment with his opportunity.  So we're improving.  We're not the '85 Bears right now or anything like that, but we like the guys we have, and if they will make the same incremental improvements that we've made the first half of the season, go apply those in the second half, then I think we have a chance to be a pretty good group with the ability to be a great group in the future.

Q.  Is the defensive improvement where you can see your team making the most strides in the second half?
DABO SWINNEY:  Oh, yeah, yeah, absolutely.  We've got to continue to improve in the big play category.  I thought we did a much better job the other day.  We didn't have a couple of the busts that we had been having.  They made some big plays, but it really wasn't as much from busts as just not quite executing properly or technique or just getting beat by a guy.  But there wasn't guys just not where they were supposed to be or anything like that, not knowing what they were doing.
So just the knowledge, I think, has improved of what we're doing and why, and that's definitely the area that I think we can be most improved in the second half.
We've got a lot of things to improve offensively, as well, but we're a little bit further along, but we've got a few more veteran players over there.

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