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November 7, 2012

Randy Edsall

RANDY EDSALL:  Just listening to Dabo, you know we've got a tremendous challenge as we go down there to Clemson.  It's their homecoming game, trying to break a record for the most consecutive wins there at home, and when you take a look at their personnel, they're an outstanding football team that's playing very, very well, so we've got a lot of work to do and a lot of work ahead of us as we prepare to go down to Clemson on Saturday.

Q.  With the way Clemson's offense has been playing lately, what can you possibly do to contain these guys, especially on defense, what do you need to do better than you did against the Yellow Jackets?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I don't think anybody‑‑ you're never going to shut them down, you just hope you can do enough to slow them down, because when you take a look at Tajh Boyd is playing very, very well, and then DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington, Brandon Ford, all those guys are very exceptional at their positions, and then their offensive line is playing well.
Again, I think the biggest thing you've got to do is just be very sound, very disciplined in terms of what you do, and you know that you have to defend everybody.  You've got to defend the quarterback, you've got to defend the running back, you've got to defend the receivers, you've got to defend the tight end.  It's an offense that puts a lot of pressure on you, and nobody has really shut them down, so what you've got to hopefully do is do enough to hopefully maybe get some turnovers and cause some disruptions where you can get them off the field a few times.

Q.  Now that you've seen Shawn, I'm just wondering what the balancing act is in terms of being able to do, tailor things to his strength but not overloading his plate as you move forward.
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, we've got a really good feel for what Shawn can do and how much he can handle, so we'll have a game plan put together that takes advantage of his skills and then also combines what we know we can do with the other players that we have on offense.  And again, I know‑‑ we know how much we can give him and how much we can go into the game with, and that's what we'll do, and I think he'll play better having a game under his belt.
And again, everybody on offense just has to step up and do their part and try to make his job that much easier.

Q.  Do you think that it helps him out going into this game that he kind of got into a better groove in the second half of last week's game?
RANDY EDSALL:  Yeah, I think he felt more comfortable.  He felt better.  I think he understood just what the speed of the game is, and that was a tough situation for him to go into.  And like I said, he settled down, and when you look at it, we didn't have any delay of games, we didn't have any procedure penalties.  I thought that he did a good job, and again, you could see him get a little bit more comfortable as the game went on.  And again, the game will even be faster this week with the speed and athleticism that you see from Clemson's defense.

Q.  Ideally how many quarterbacks, scholarship quarterbacks, do you like to have in the program, and do you think looking down the road that this changes your thinking at all?  Or do you think you would always have somebody who played quarterback in high school maybe at some other position?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I would always like to have four quarterbacks, scholarship quarterbacks on my roster.  And then of course you're going to also have some walk‑on quarterbacks, as well.  But I also think you're going to recruit, at least we're going to try to recruit some guys that might have been quarterbacks in high school that can play another position because I think their athletic ability and things along those lines, when you start getting into having five or six‑‑ if you have six quarterbacks you can't give them all reps and then you're taking scholarships away from other positions where it can be more advantageous for you.  I think you run into problems that way.
But the big thing is, I said it yesterday in my press conference here on campus, it's just unfortunate because it's happened at one position.  I mean, injuries happen, but we just got them all at the quarterback position this year, and it's unfortunate.  And probably it'll never happen again, but it has nothing to do with anything that we're doing, the type of surface that we're playing on, any of those sort of things.  We've just been unlucky.

Q.  With all the turnover at quarterback, how difficult has that made it to take advantage of what Stefon Diggs is giving you as a receiver because obviously it's a two‑part thing when you have a weapon like that at receiver?  Has that made it more difficult to get him the ball and exploit has talents?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, I mean, he had two touchdowns last weekend against Georgia Tech, but again, you're always going to have things in your offense to get him the ball, and you can do that with the quarterback in there, and we did that with all the different quarterbacks that we had.
So again, it's one of those things where we'll have a‑‑ we have a part of our offense that's dictated that these are plays that we can run to get touches for Stefon, and that's always going to be the same regardless of who the quarterback is, and what you want is you want to make sure that the quarterback that's in there has the accuracy when he's open and the play is called for the ball to go to him that they're there.  But you can get him the ball other ways in terms of through the run game and then also doesn't change from a punt return/kickoff return standpoint.

Q.  Coach Swinney was just asked before you were on about comparing Diggs to Sammy Watkins, who had a fabulous freshman year last year at wide receiver, also as a kick returner.  Looking at the two of them, do you see any similarities?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, yeah.  They're both dynamic play makers.  They're guys that can touch the ball and make great things happen when they touch the ball.  Sammy is an inch taller and 20 pounds heavier than Stefon right now, and I think Stefon will get bigger and stronger throughout the years.  But no, they're both guys that can make plays with the ball, and whether it's receiving the ball or returning the ball, both very dynamic players.

Q.  Who steps in for Demetrius Hartsfield, and what should we expect there?
RANDY EDSALL:  Well, Lorne Goree will step in for Demetrius, and Lorne is a guy that has played for us and has played well when he's been in there, and now he gets the starter's role and gets an expanded role.  And again, we think that he'll do a good job.  I feel bad for Demetrius that he's not going to be in there.  He meant a lot to our team in terms of what he did on the field, the leadership that he brought, and now he's just got to have to help us lead from the sidelines.  But it's a tremendous blow to him and to our team, but we know that Lorne has the ability to step up and go in and produce the way that Demetrius did, and he's going to have that opportunity now.

Q.  Since you had to take another linebacker and put him at quarterback, are you getting thin at that position at all?
RANDY EDSALL:  No, not really.  I mean, we took Alex Twine and moved him from the Sam from outside to inside, so we're okay there.  Bradley Johnson will move over behind Cole Farrand, and then Avery Thompson who's played this year will move up behind Kenny Tate.  We're still there, but at this point in time we'll do what we have to do because we're not going to go and burn any red shirt‑‑ any kids that we decided to red shirt this year.  We'll just have to make some other adjustments.  Hopefully we won't have to, but if we did because of injuries, then we'll make those type of adjustments.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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