We haven’t played Clemson in 10 years. Of course I’ve kept up with them. I know Dabo [Swinney] very well. When you look at this team on tape, whether it be offense, defense or kicking, it might be the most complete team ever. I’ve prepared for many great football teams for more than 30 years, but this team is complete. They play with great effort and great intensity.
When I say they are extremely well coached, they are extremely well coached. It’s just not schematically. It’s also their awareness and ability to execute. They have offensive weapons everywhere and they play offensive defense. Their weapons are also everywhere on defense. They are an outstanding team. It will be challenging to play down there on a Saturday night.
It’s a challenge I hope everyone on our team is looking forward to. What an exciting atmosphere and opportunity. I thought our players understand with our practice today. It was as good of a Tuesday work that we’ve had. Now we have to put together the same thing the rest of the week. This is a big challenge and certainly a big opportunity for this program.
On Clemson Controlling The ACC …
I’ve been in the Southeastern Conference, where we were like that and that’s where Clemson is right now. As good as the ACC is, it doesn’t have to only be Clemson for that to happen. They’ve done all the right things and a great job, so that’s where they are. That changes over time.
I think it’s good for the ACC that everyone feels challenged to take another step. In every great league, I’ve seen that. I’ve seen Southern California dominate its league. We’ve seen Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas dominate in certain circumstances. I certainly think that will continue to happen in Power 5 leagues and right now, it happens to be Clemson.
On Clemson’s Pass Rush …
You throw it fast. They’re good. We have to have balance in our offense. We’re working very hard at that. Your entire offense has to understand that it’s not just how to do it or what to do but why we’re doing certain things. That’s the beauty of it. That excites us as coaches as well as players. We have to plan well and execute well.
On Duke’s Pass Protection …
There are a lot of different ways to protect. The quarterback has to put people in the right places and sometimes that’s a guessing game. The quarterback has to get the ball out of his hands. Then you have to do the physical parts. That’s the most challenging part of protecting.
On Watching Daniel Jones in High School …
His high school coach asked me to do an evaluation because he thought he was good, maybe better than what he was being recruited for. I watched a quarter and a half, picked up the phone and said, ‘you’re right.
He had quick hands, great feet, height and was accurate with the ball. The ball came out clean time after time after time. Obviously, I wanted to know a bit more about him.
When you find out everything about Daniel Jones as a person, I thought we had one. We were without a scholarship at the time, so I was in begging mode.
Nobody treats a scout team quarterback very well, particularly a true freshman. He had a pretty good tight end by the name of Daniel Helm, so that scout team was pretty good. I remember getting a picture of them together at the bowl site because I thought that was a pretty good group to remember.
On Brandon Hill’s Performance Saturday …
He did some good things. He’s very athletic and got more physical as the game went on. The first half certainly wasn’t as good as the second half. We played Koby Quansah some also. Brandon is getting better. Until you play a lot, it’s hard to get better. The best is yet to come for him.
On Ben Humphreys’ Recognition off the Field …
Ben is a smiling, incredible and caring person. Whether he’s around children with illness or anyone on our team who needs a lift, he’s incredible. I’ve known Ben to go pick up young guys who didn’t have cars to get them to practice on time. He’s a thoughtful, great person who comes from a great family. Hopefully, Ben’s immediate future is in professional football, but I can promise you he will be special in his future endeavors.”
On Emotions Leading up to Clemson …
There will be butterflies and anxiety. There will also be excitement. These guys have played in some great environments. Once you get going on the field and get hit hard enough, all that stuff you thought about before the game is gone. You hope resiliency, physical toughness and mentally come into play.
I like our team in that regard. This is a team that hasn’t had the same starting lineup in any one week. That requires resilience. Whatever we’ve used to this point, we need a bit more for this one.
On His Staff’s Excitement About Clemson …
I love it from a football coach perspective. I’ve done this enough times that this is the test that we all look for. There aren’t any guarantees in life so you have to just be really happy you’re in the arena. This is it. This is what you grasp and what you drive for. We have to play the game. I’m excited right now.
On Injuries to Defensive Backs …
It’s been tough. We have a lot to look at. We worked different combinations today. We’re very thankful for Jordan Hayes, who stepped up when he was asked to step up. Josh Blackwell, Myles Hudzick, Brandon Feamster and Antone Williams have all stepped up. It’s been different every week.
Right now, Lummie Young IV will start where Dylan [Singleton] started. We have various combinations we will have to play, particularly at the safety positions. We’ll let the dust settle on the week and see who performs at practice. Step by step not day by day. We’ll see what happens.
On stopping Trevor Lawrence …
You don’t stop him. You have to defend, cover and try to create some rush. He’s a big guy who has incredible arm strength and accuracy. He certainly looks very poised to be a true freshman. He runs well enough to be a true threat. You’re not going to stop him. You just try to minimize the kind of damage a player like that can cause you.