Clemson Football

Dabo Swinney: Tuesday/Wednesday Practices were "best we've had all year;" Mark Fields hurt

November 29, 2017
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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was in a great mood Wednesday night after practice as he spoke with the media for the season's final Wednesday update.

He immediately began by saying Tuesday and Wednesday's practices were the best Clemson's had all season.

"Truly, this might have been the best Tuesday/Wednesday practice we've had all year. I am just kind of impressed with how the guys have come to work and the leadership. These guys are focused on trying to get ready for a very tough challenge. They know what's ahead. This is a really good team we are getting ready to play. They are a champion like we are a champion and we are playing for the overall championship."

Swinney also noted that cornerback Mark Fields won't be able to play this weekend.

"He's kind of re-tweaked his ankle somehow and can't hardly plant and cut like he wants to."

Full 10-minute interview:

Full transcription from Interview:

"Truly, this might have been the best Tuesday/Wednesday practice we've had all year. I am just kind of impressed with how the guys have come to work and the leadership. These guys are focused on trying to get ready for a very tough challenge. They know what's ahead. This is a really good team we are getting ready to play. They are a champion like we are a champion and we are playing for the overall championship. Good focus, good energy, guys are fresh health-wise, we should be in good shape. 

"I don't think Tre (Lamar) is going to be quite ready, but he does look alot better. He's made alot of progress and pretty much has all of his range of motion back. He's really just working on his strength now. I think they are going to cut him loose once we start bowl practice, which will probably be a week from Sunday."

Injuries:

JD’s good Chad’s good they’re both ready to go. Only other one that doesn’t look like he’ll be ready to go is Mark. Kind of re-tweaked his ankle somehow and can’t hardly plant and cut like he wants to. Marcus is back and he should be good to go.

On keeping redshirt players engaged:

"Coaches do a good job of finding ways to engage their players and meet them where they are. Sometimes you get into meetings and you're kind of up here and your veteran guys are up here and you're putting in a plan and you are busy and you're focused and you forget about this kid down here and he's just not there yet. Sometimes as a coach you got to go where they are. Kelly Bryant was a perfect example. He's been prepared even though you hadn't really been seeing him playing a whole lot. How he got reps at practice, the gameplans, the tips, and reminders weekly, taking ownership of the installation. All those things build up. Like a young player like LeAnthony Williams, nobody knows him and he's not playing right now, but here is a kid who is getting better. A Chandler Reeves, that kid has made a lot of progress. I saw that name and it's like, 'Who is that?' but you'll know who he is. I just see how they stay engaged, taking opportunities when we get into some of our competitive stuff to get some reps. That stuff adds up over the course of a year."

On Andy Staples comments about how Dabo has a switch in the facility that he flips on when it's championship mode:

"I think it helps having a culture that understands what it takes. Your team changes every year, but if you really do a good job and really nurture the culture of your program, then that can kind of transfer. But with the leadership of our team, there is no question when you've got guys who have been there and have experienced big games, they understand that that's kind of just what we do. Every week is a big game. When you come to Clemson, I don't care who we play, it's going to be the biggest game of the year because we're Clemson. We won 81 games in seven years. That's alot of games so trust me when we line up to play, you are going to get every opponents best version of themselves every single week. Maximum juice, maximum energy. So from our standpoint, our guys just understand that. We just try to get ready every week. We don't really vary how we get ready very much at all. We just try to play well and take that pride in performance and consistency in performance. That's really what we focus on. Because of the past seven years, these guys have been in a lot of big games. You try to just carry that over from year to year with the leadership of your team because the best teams I have been on as a player, the best team I've been on as a coach, have been player-led I just kind of guide them and keep them on track. Best teams are player-led and this is a perfect example of that type of team. These guys, they get it."

On good feeling about this group in the spring:
"The chemistry, the accountability. It’s weird to say because you’re coming off of National Championship Game, but this team had a little edge to them. Had we had everyone back from that same team I might have had to handle them a little bit differently. All I did all was spend all spring and summer talking about who wasn’t here. It’s a really talented team but a lot of unproven guys, but guys at were recruited to come here and be good players I just hadn’t really had a lot of opportunity yet. They had a little edge to them coming into fall camp. I love that. I did everything that I could to embrace that. These guys have answered every challenge all year long, and now you are in a position, for 13 weeks now, they’ve controlled their own destiny. They believed in themselves. They have believed in what we do. They believed in each other and regardless of anything else they’ve been in control of their own destiny all year and after 13 weeks they are still there. There’s really only four teams that control their own destiny- right now. And we are one of them. We got to put our best foot forward Saturday night to try to find a way to win, this is going to be a humdinger.

On possible Sugar Bowl trip for Travis Etienne and rest of team:
"E.T. go home right? That’d be great. Love it. It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in New Orleans. Ironically I got to go back in March or April for the Manning award after 25 years, the last time I’d been in New Orleans was when I played. Here I am spring of ’17 and I’m at the Superdome, The last time I was in the Superdome we had just won the National Championship as a player, now 25 years later, I’m in the Superdome and we just won the National Championship at Clemson. It was kind of surreal, I had to take a few pictures. Just did a little reconnaissance and trip just in case. If we can find a way, I’m well prepared for a visit to New Orleans. It’s a great city, hopefully, we can find a way to win and get there, but I’ll tell you what it’s going to be a great year no matter what happens Saturday night. Miami’s had a great year we’ve had a great year, both teams are going to lay it on the line. I’m really proud of this team. No matter what happens Saturday night, ain’t nothing going to change the way I feel about this group. They’ve done a phenomenal job of just getting ready and just hanging in there. Developing depth, making plays. It’s been fun and we’re going to continue to embrace it and just enjoy the moment."

Xavier Kelly:
"It’s just a matter of time. I’m very patient. We’ve just got to hang in there with him. Just keep pushing. Sooner or later it’s going to all come together for him. He’ll be a great player for us no doubt."

 
 
 
 
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