Dabo Swinney on offensive success: 'We take what's there - that's who we are'

'We feel like we can run when we want to run it, and we can throw when we want to throw it. That's where you want to be'

Clemson's Roderick McDowell runs for a first down during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Roderick McDowell runs for a first down during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York.

Dabo Swinney doesn't get caught up much in statistics.

His vision for Clemson's offensive success is "to take what's there."

"That's who we are," said Swinney during his weekly teleconference on Sunday.

The Tigers rolled up season-best marks of 624 yards and 8.1 yards per play Saturday against Syracuse, including a school-record 468 yards passing and 156 yards rushing.

Clemson feasted on the Orange's pressure defense early, as they Tigers held up in protection and then found holes in the secondary for big plays that dictated the course of the game.

Swinney was asked if he was concerned about "re-establishing the run" during the Tigers' upcoming game against Boston College.

His answer revealed much about his offensive philosophy and approach to winning football.

"The reason the passing game is working well is because that's what is presenting itself," Swinney explained. "If you line up and try to run against the type of pressure who were seeing early in the game on Saturday, you're going to hit your head against a wall a lot. It's hit or miss, because there's just a lot going on.

"We feel like we can run when we want to run it, and we can throw when we want to throw it. That's where you want to be from an offensive standpoint. So far this year, we've been able to do that."

Swinney said that without an effective ground game, the Tigers' springboard opening victory over Georgia would never have happened.

"We don't beat Georgia without our running game," he said. "Our passing game was average at best, below average, against Georgia. We won the game because we were able to run the football.

"Then up at N.C. State, our ability to finish that game running the ball was huge. Against Wake Forest, we were able to balance it.

"In the game against Syracuse, the style of play we were going against, there were opportunities there. We had to hat people up, from a protection standpoint early, and then win match-ups.

"That's kind of who we are. We're going to take what's there and make those plays."

Swinney said he's confident in the running game, whether it comes from the backs on traditional handoffs, keepers by Tajh Boyd, or plays by wide receivers that show up in the box score as passes.

"I have a lot of confidence in our running game," Swinney said. "Plus, there are things we do that go down as passing yards, but are really runs. We may flip it forward, and that counts as a pass. But those plays are part of our running game.

"I'm very comfortable with where we are after five games. When we've needed to run the ball effectively, we've been able to do that."

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