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Clemson Football

Swinney on losing to Georgia: 'We made the critical error'

September 6, 2021

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Opening comments:
"First of all, congratulations to Georgia. incredibly hard-fought game. They made the critical plays the critical time to get the win. They're a great team. Congratulations to them. A really hard-fought game. We're a critical error pick-six away from a 3-3 overtime slugfest-- but just too many mistakes. At the end of the day, we did a lot of good things in the game-- our defense and our special teams, more than played well enough to win the game. Offensively we really struggled, but we'll dust ourselves off-- own it, and go get better. Grow from it."

"Just two elite defenses on the field, I think that'll prove to be the case throughout the year. I think both offenses, will get better as we go along. Disappointing that we didn't come out on top, but overall a great experience for something that I think we can really learn from and teach from because these kids care. They're deeply invested."

On the team’s health:
 "From a health standpoint, the only guy that it looks like it's going to be out for a few weeks is E.J. Williams. He's going to have to have surgery on his thumb. He'll probably be out four or five weeks. So hopefully, after the open date, we'll be able to get him back."

On when Willimas was injured:

"It happened in the game, somehow he got his thumb caught on somebody or hit whatever. Just kind of bent it back, awkward spot. So they've got to fix it. It's a pretty simple surgery, and it's probably a four to six-week type of thing-- short-term, four weeks, long-term, six weeks is kind of how they explained it, but he'll be fine."

On what they need to work on offensively:
"Well, I don't want to take anything away from Georgia defense- they're really, really, really good and they want some plays, but it's the things that we do control and it was disappointing. It's three 3:50 in the second quarter and it's 0-0 and we made the critical error. We had critical busts. We took too many sacks. We had a sack on a receiver because we missed the signal and didn't run the right route on a critical third down. Obviously had a few on OL. The quarterback took some sacks, a lot of things."

"I would say we played our C- game and you're not gonna win against the team like that. There was really good individual things, but just not consistently 11 guys playing with the type of precision and details that it takes to give yourself a chance against a defense like Georgia."

On Justyn Ross’ play:
'Justyn Ross had a couple of really critical mistakes, but it's like I told him after the game-- I'm glad I was able to watch him have a couple of critical mistakes. It was a blessing to be able to see him play. He'll respond, no doubt about that. Then we've got to help them more as well."

On if they should have stuck with the running game:
"Yeah, I think so. For sure. Again, just we just seem to always be behind the chains, behind the field position, clock, whatever it was. We had some really good drives, the first play of the game, you can't draw it up any better and we just turned the linebacker loose. I mean, we've got a hat for him, but for some reason, we didn't come off there. I mean, that plays gonna go a while. I don't know that many people are going to be efficient running the football in Georgia. But, but we were nowhere near effective enough, and then with D.J. just not really being settled in-- we didn't do a good job of supporting him and sticking with the run game and hanging in there with that."

On Matt Bockhorst at center:
"He actually did pretty good. He did have one bad snap, which we were fortunate that it? We got we came up with it, but he actually did a pretty good job. I was fairly pleased with him and his effort, his knowledge, you know, first time really playing that many snaps at center-- in an incredibly difficult matchup I thought he did a solid job. Definitely room for improvement, but he was not bad. Definitely got to get better, but I thought he did a nice job."

On running D.J.:
"We got away from that. We had a big tackle for loss because we ran the counter and didn't block big No. 99. We got a down block and poor footwork and we just turn him loose."

"As for what we need from D.J., we just need good pocket presence and execute the system,-- good game awareness and make plays with his legs when we need to."

On Joseph Ngata’s performance:
"It was great to see you Joseph have a game like that. Because he's a guy we've been talking about here. I mean, he had a really good freshman year, backing up, Tee Higgins. Then last year, he had a chance to really be the guy and we couldn't keep him on the field. So what you saw is what I've seen, many, many, many, many times in practice. What you saw on the game-- that was a good thing to see because he was one of the guys that took it from the practice field to the game field."

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Swinney on losing to Georgia: 'We made the critical error'

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