Dabo Swinney says Clemson must focus on itself in second half

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney calls plays from the sideline in the third quarter.

Photo by Nathan Gray

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney calls plays from the sideline in the third quarter.

Bye week at ideal time

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— – Late Saturday night, Clemson got a major gift from another ACC land-grant university.

N.C. State rallied from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun No.4 Florida State 17-16, giving the Tigers new life in the ACC Atlantic Division race.

After falling 49-37 at FSU two weeks ago, Clemson needed to win the rest of its ACC games and have the Seminoles lose twice. Now, winning a second consecutive division title – and taking a trip to Charlotte for the ACC title game – is a real possibility.

“It certainly gets you one step closer to being back in the hunt,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said on his weekly teleconference with reporters. “But our optimism (as a team) was always very positive.”

As Clemson enters its only open week of the season, Swinney says his team’s mindset won’t be about scoreboard watching. It’ll be focused on self-improvement. The Tigers (5-1, 2-1 ACC) dropped one spot, from No.15 to No.16, in this week’s Associated Press top 25.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t win that game, but it’s not about guys not thinking they couldn’t have a great year,” he said. “We all know it’s a long season and we’re going to focus on controlling what we can control. If it works out, great. We lost a game and that’s the situation we put ourselves in. We can’t control our destiny. We need help, but it won’t matter if we don’t control what we can control.”

Swinney praised his team’s focus in following the FSU loss with a 45-31 win at Boston College and a 47-31 win over Georgia Tech.

“The mentality of our team is that it’s all irrelevant if we don’t stay focused on what we’re doing, “ he said. “I’m proud of our team. We went to Boston and won, came back and got a crucial win. There are a lot of things we have to do, we have to have help from a conference standpoint. We still have a chance to have a great season no matter what happens.”

Saturday, the Tigers scored the game’s final 17 points, rallying from a 31-30 fourth-quarter deficit.

“We weren’t pretty the whole game,” he said. “We took advantage of opportunities and had critical errors as well. There were a lot of positives in this game on both sides and this team put a complete game together. It took all three phases making big plays to win this game.”

Swinney said a “lot of guys are beat up,” but the only player who would be questionable if Clemson had to play this weekend would be senior tight end Brandon Ford, who left with an ankle injury and wore a walking boot afterward. He is expected to be ready for Oct. 20’s date with Virginia Tech.

Defense will be a major focal point this week. Clemson is allowing 202.6 rushing yards per game, 102nd nationally. Its 445 yards per game allowed stands 96th nationally. Its 27.3 points per game allowed ranks 71st nationally.

When asked what areas the defense would focus on this week, Swinney replied, “Everything.”

“We’ve got to continue to get better with our recognition, eyes, tackling, playing and defeating blocks, everything,” he said. “Fundamentals… we’re a long way from being anywhere near a finished product. We have a lot of work to do in every area. There’s nothing off the shelf, nothing where we’ve arrived in a particular area.”

Swinney said this week will be devoted to teaching and learning from the first half.

“We’ll continue to teach,” he said. “We want this to become a defense that can grow in its knowledge and take advantage of looking back over the first half. There’s a lot we can learn from and apply to the second half.”

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Comments » 12

waran writes:

ACC's other land-grant University? Greg Wallace needs to check the Morrill Act. University of Maryland and Virginia Tech also are land grants and belong to the ACC (including NC State and Clemson).

kimpots1 writes:

Been hearing that mr. dabo has been having awful nightmares about an old game rooster over in columbia.

SlappleDapple writes:

Clemson got a major gift from another ACC land-grant university.
waran - If the line had read "the other ACC land-grant U" you would have a point. But it says "another" which means one of potentially many. Man, people just love looking for ish to criticize.

waran writes:

Sorry... I read it as "the other". My mistake.

33dtb writes:

After watching the USC-Georgia game and USC's O-line and D-line, I'm worried.

Plus
We could have beaten FSU with our O-line and D-Line as dominant.

TrevorT writes:

in response to 33dtb:

After watching the USC-Georgia game and USC's O-line and D-line, I'm worried.

Plus
We could have beaten FSU with our O-line and D-Line as dominant.

Give me a break. You've posted this same comment multiple times. The chickens are good this year, but who cares? Are we all supposed to start trembling over the thought of playing against a good team? I want them undefeated in The Valley this November so that we can hand them their most memorable defeat yet! GO TIGERS!

teeman89 writes:

If the Tigers Linebackers get in position and make tackle at or behind the line scrimmage, then the Tigers can win every game going forward.

f8thwlk writes:

Let's be real guys, the Tigers have it all. They need to quit making excuses and play up to their full potential (especially on defense). Clemson can play with anybody in the country when their mind is focused on playing football. No excuses. Man up jack! The Gamecocks have not seen an offense like the Tigers are going to bring into that last game. It should be a great game!

TRUTH4U2 writes:

in response to f8thwlk:

Let's be real guys, the Tigers have it all. They need to quit making excuses and play up to their full potential (especially on defense). Clemson can play with anybody in the country when their mind is focused on playing football. No excuses. Man up jack! The Gamecocks have not seen an offense like the Tigers are going to bring into that last game. It should be a great game!

Clemson average YPG total for last was 440. This year is slightly higher through six games at 525 YPG. Taking into consideration Clemson has not played but one decent defense all year and there worse offensive performance last year was against the Gamecocks. Along with very little improvement on the offensive line I do not see the result being any different from last years game. The Gamecocks have seen this offense and will dominate it again.

f8thwlk writes:

in response to TRUTH4U2:

Clemson average YPG total for last was 440. This year is slightly higher through six games at 525 YPG. Taking into consideration Clemson has not played but one decent defense all year and there worse offensive performance last year was against the Gamecocks. Along with very little improvement on the offensive line I do not see the result being any different from last years game. The Gamecocks have seen this offense and will dominate it again.

Clemson will hang at least 30 on the Chickens... guaranteed.

TRUTH4U2 writes:

in response to f8thwlk:

Clemson will hang at least 30 on the Chickens... guaranteed.

Thats fine, when Carolina hangs 40 or more on the pitiful defense.

f8thwlk writes:

in response to TRUTH4U2:

Thats fine, when Carolina hangs 40 or more on the pitiful defense.

Hey don't be so quick to post the final score before the game is even played...you might just be surprised.

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