Dabo was asked, other than knocking your QB out the last two years, what did Syracuse do to give you a hard time? Dabo: "Knocked our quarterback out." Lol that got a good laugh. I asked him if having Travis as a regular viable option in the passing game takes this offense to a whole other level, and he agreed with that. Travis had his best game catching the football on Saturday and has worked really hard on that part of his game during the off-season.
“We are rolling along. It’s hard to believe it’s already Week 3. We’re excited about the challenge this week, taking this team on the road, obviously we have not done that yet. We have had two good opponents here in the Valley, and excited about how our team has improved at this point. We still have got a long way to go, but definitely off to a good start. We’re 2-0, that’s where we wanted to be, but have got a lot of improving to do if we want to get to where we want to.
The next goal for us is to win the division, and that starts this week -- first division game for us, on the road, at a place where we lost two years ago. It’s a great environment. They do a great job, we are going to have to play well, simple as that. I have a lot of respect for Syracuse. They beat us two years ago, and then last year had us on the mat for a two-count, and we were able to get up and find a way to win the game, very fortunate.
I have got a lot of respect for Syracuse, our team has a lot of respect for Syracuse. Dino’s done a great job up there. We are very well aware of the type of effort and energy and toughness that we will face in this Syracuse team. Last week's game got away from them, but that won’t be the version of Syracuse that we will see.
We’re excited about the challenge. Again, it’s the next step for us. If we’re going to be a great team, then you have got to be able to win on the road. It takes mental toughness, it takes maturity, it takes a lot of discipline and focus and communication to be able to execute, offensively, especially. Defensively, its quiet, so it’s a different deal when they go on the road. The defense kind of takes that energy, and it’s always different on the road. [It takes] just maturity and mental toughness to go and execute at a high level in a tough environment. That’s what we’re looking for this week.
Syracuse has got a good team. Obviously their quarterback is a veteran guy. He’s been around, he knows their system, he’s athletic, he can throw the football, he’s confident, he’s got a good size. They rotate three backs in there, all of them can make plays. They have got good receivers. No. 86 has made a couple of big plays early. Defensively, two All-American ends that are going to play on Sundays, no doubt about it. A couple of All-American candidates in the secondary. One of their better D-tackles has been out, not sure if he is going to play or not this week, but it’s going to be a tough match-up, simple as that. This is a division game, and everybody knows what's at stake. We know a lot about them, and they know a lot about us, so it comes down to execution in, again, a tough environment.
Looking forward to heading up there. We’re healthy, we’re in a good place, and the guys are excited about continuing to get better.”
On Syracuse’s tempo and if will affect young players like DT Tyler Davis:
“Well, I mean, we’re a tempo offense too, so we practice that way every day. It’s something he is used to. It’s not going to catch him off-guard. But the first couple games, they’ve really slowed it down more than they have tempo’d. I think they have looked to the sideline a lot, and just kind of picked their spots. They have some fire plays where all of the sudden they go really fast, but they have not been lightning quick. They play fast, they play with tempo, but very similar to what we do.”
On the similarities in Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito and former quarterback Eric Dungey:
“They’re very similar. They’re both savvy, both great leaders, both tough, both are athletic and can run the ball, both can push the ball down the field. And the staff has a lot of confidence in him, the team has confidence in both these guys, so a lot of similarities. Maybe not as big as Dungey, but still, he’s not a little guy. He has got good size on him.”
On if WR Amari Rodgers is full go:
“He’s been full go. We wouldn’t have played him if he wouldn’t have been full go. So we haven't been holding him back. He played 30-something plays last week, so he played about as much as anybody. It was good to see him get out there and get back going, but again that was his first scrimmage situation since he got hurt, so still working his way into true game shape, football-game shape, but it was good to see him get knocked around, got hit a couple times, a couple catches, and just kind of getting into the rhythm of the game. But, yeah, he’s been released and is good to go.”
On Syracuse Head Coach Dino Babers’ reference to Game of Thrones to describe Clemson’s offensive line’s protection of QB Trevor Lawrence:
“I think that’s just classic Dino right there. I think he has got respect for our team. I don’t know anything about Game of Thrones, so I don’t know what all that stuff means, but we try to do a good job of protecting him [Lawrence], try to put playmakers around him -- offensive line, running backs, tight ends, receivers -- so that’s something we definitely try to do. We had a lot of the same dudes a few years ago too when we got beat, so I don’t buy into any of that stuff.”
That's all for today, guys. I'll have a synopsis for you in a bit! We'll get Dabo one more time tomorrow evening after practice, and I'll also have baseball interviews for you tomorrow, as Monte Lee and the Tigers begin fall ball this week. Stay tuned!