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Clemson Football

Swinney says Uiagalelei 'in a good spot', wasn't 'very confident' last season

September 28, 2022
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On facing No. 10 NC State:

"This is what a Top 10 game should look like. You got two really talented teams. Very, very experienced football team that we're getting ready to play in NC State-- both sides. Similar to last week as far as veteran leadership. They got a bunch of guys that have played a lot of ball. They've been very successful. They're a really good football team. Very well-coached Dave's done an amazing job putting this group together-- some of them seem like they've been there forever. They've gotten Peyton Wilson back on defense, and he is one of the best players in the country to go right along with what was already a great defense. So I think he's outstanding."

On the Wolfpack offense:

"You look at their offense; they're complete. They've got a really good offensive line that's played a lot of football. One of the best quarterbacks in the country. I mean, Leary is special. I mean, he's a pro. This league, this year, is unbelievable when it comes to quarterbacks, I mean it truly is. It seems like we play every one of them. There's a lot of guys that fans of the ACC need to enjoy watching because you got a lot of guys that are gonna be playing on Sunday coming out of this league and Leary is one of them. He is a great football player-- really understands the game."

On the Wolfpack running backs:

"They've got two hard-nosed downhill backs that flat out can tote the rock in No. 0 and No. 3. Excellent receivers, No. 88, No. 5, No. 15, NO. 11, I mean, they've all made plays. No. 5 is their guy as far as a guy they're going to script into all their touches, whether it be handing him the ball, screening the ball. He's even thrown the ball a few times. So he's a really good football player, very savvy, a big, big RPO guy. They're physical in the run game. They run a lot of counter, a lot of stretch, and then they're gonna take a million shots and push the ball down the field."

On the Wolfpack defense:

"Defensively, they're complete. They've got really good players at all three levels. They're very confident in their scheme and what they do. They understand their scheme very well. They put their players in a position to be successful, but very physical."

On the Wolfpack’s scheme defensively:

"A lot of zone, you've got to be very patient. They force you to be very patient in how they play structurally. They will pressure you. The biggest thing is identifying them because they there with the way they play their front and their star player in the middle you have to be on the same page communication-wise."

On if the Wolfpacks’ success has reenergized the rivalry:

"I think they've always been good. I mean, we've won a lot of games, but they've all been tough games. I think NC State's always been a really tough opponent-- ever since I've been at Clemson. It's my 19th time to play them. As far back as I can remember, Philip Rivers was the quarterback when I came in here in '03. As far back as I can remember, they've always been tough."

On D.J. Uiagalelei’s improvement:

"The biggest thing is confidence. He's just playing with a lot of joy. I mean, he's very confident. That's the first thing jumps out. He wasn't very confident last year, and he got in a bad spot. He's in a good space there. What he's done with his legs, that's the biggest change. His confidence in running the football, but also just creating and extending plays, then his accuracy, but I think that's just a reflection of just his confidence. If you're not very confident, you probably not gonna be very accurate."

On Nate Wiggins being able to stay confident:

"Yeah, I mean, you have to. That's what a windshield mentality is all about, right? You can't worry about what happened last week, good or bad. You don't get carry any points over, and you don't carry any bad plays over either unless you let it carry over. So you got to move on in this game. A lot of times, people outside, don't move on until you play another game, or you win another game, or whatever. But when this is what you do, you have to lock in on what's next; otherwise, you're not going to get any better."

On the issues in the secondary: 

"We did not play the ball well at all. We didn't just we didn't play our technique well. One situation, you got to press-bail, and you're on top, all the time, and then all sudden, we're staring in the backfield, and the guy runs right behind us. That should never happen. It's a basic technique. But again, we've got to do a better job of coaching it and teaching it. We've got a couple of young guys that can really play. They're gonna get better, and they're gonna get better in a hurry."

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Swinney says Uiagalelei 'in a good spot', wasn't 'very confident' last season

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