Dabo’s Tuesday press conference will begin at 11:00 on Zoom, and he will be followed by Trevor and several other players. The press conference and interview videos are below as well as a transcript from Dabo's PC. Please bear in mind that the transcript is auto-generated by Zoom, so it may have some errors.
Good. They're good. Okay. All right. Well, again, I was just saying, you know, this is our normal Tuesday press conference but certainly not normal in the fact that we got an empty room so miss all my friends up in the top corner there and this being where everybody in person. But thankful and grateful that it's finally game week.
You know game week is is always special and, you know, to be honest with the opening day you know anything. It's always special, and that's really, I think, the mindset that our team has embraced this year is every day is opening day every day is opening day and you know, just trying to win the day one day at a time, you know, this team has really embraced that and like I said, every year. The opening week is special. There's so much to do to get ready for that first game and to kind of get everybody in a rhythm for the season. In in sync. But this year has been like none other. In that regard, and just super, super excited about it. Problem is excited about this opening week is my very first one is a head coach. Just because all this taking to get here. I mean, I'm super proud of all the people in our organization from, you know, President Clements all the way down and our staff, our support staff and all that has taken place. To get us to this point and really proud of our team. These guys have been amazing. You know, and I've seen our culture. You know, when the day, if you will, through this tough tough time that we've all dealt with, you know, since March and this very close football team, this is a a well lead team very smart team and it's an excited team. And it's a committed to and I can't wait to see a play. You know, and get to do what they love to do, be able to get back to doing something that they love. It's really exciting to be at this point. So, you know, see where we are, you know, it's the first game, obviously.
It's an opener openers are always the toughest games to me. Just because you really, you have no tape. You're basing everything on last year. Last year schemes last year's personnel. There's always new people that you have not seen any tape you have more time to prepare for the first game than you do me any other game. So to me it's always the toughest game to get ready for. But we're excited about and then you going on the roadmap going out to a place at Wake. Look at what they've done at home. They've been a very tough team to be at home and but at the end of the day, you got to start somewhere and I will see where we are and then see what we need to do to improve. So, you know, it's just awesome. That it's finally here wait force is a very well coached team. I got a lot of respect for Coach Carlson and you know, he and I have spent a lot of time together. A lot of time since March, because we've been on a couple different weekly meetings for a long time. Even still, got a meeting tomorrow so you know, spend a lot a lot of time together you know already have a lot of respect for him, but it's grown even more, you know, as I've got to know him on a different level.
But a very well coached team and four straight bowl games three and one in those games could have been for know at itself was last year in the bowl game. Started out 7-1 last year. And like I said, I've been very, very good at home in particular. So they got a good football team coming back defensively as their strength think they've got nine of their starters back as in like a lot of football for and then over an offensive side, probably one of the most unique schemes and philosophies that we play as far as their style of play and what they do Hartman their quarterback obviously Newman left. But listen Hartman is a really good player. We've seen him a lot of respect for him. His leadership, he's he's incredibly committed and invested into the program there and he's a great leader you know he he can beat you with his arm. He can beat you with a speed. Wake Forest. When I think of them. They've always been physical they pride themselves on that fact. I think if you looked at our game last year, I felt they felt they won the second quarter in our game and then we got a couple big plays. But these guys have a lot of fight tool. And again, very well coached on both sides of the ball schematically and know how to create problems so for us, we've got to be ready to play. We do have an experienced group on offense on a quarterback. And that first group and no well so you know hopefully those guys will be able to settle in early. We got to do a good job as coaches make the right adjustments. And and go from there. And then we've got a lot of new starters defensively that are going to be getting their, their first opportunity and then a lot of guys are getting bigger roles for the first time, so it'll be it'll be exciting to see how it all plays out. But again, just thankful to have the opportunity to get back to the season and hopefully for us accomplish our very first goal, which is to window. And with that, I'll take questions.
Gene Sapakoff from The Post and Courier: You probably would always win the most upbeat coach of the year award at this time of the year, every year, but relative to your Clemson teams. How do you feel about this bunch? Again, relative to your Clemson best teams.
This is a special group. I mean, no team that I've ever had. Because this had to battle through the challenges adversities that this that this group has had to battle through and manage the process and all those things. So you know, this is, this is a very, very strong team. Very close. You know, probably the most communicative team that I've had simply because of again, we've been forced you know with with this virus and all these things to have to communicate in totally different ways, you know, zoom and things like that. And so I just think that this team. And then they have. I think they have an appreciation. That's very different. Not that the other teams did not have that I think our team certainly of all you know, one of the core values that we have is just a genuine appreciation for each other and for the opportunity to do what we do. But I think with what we've all experienced, you know, in our world since March and everything being shut down and all sudden, you just, you know, you, you're not getting it. You can't do what you what you want to go do and what you love to do. And you know all the things that have everyone has had to deal with. From a lack of knowledge to fear to you name it. You know this team, I think, has a deep, deep appreciation for the opportunity to play ball at the opportunity to practice the opportunity to meet. So there's a great spirit to this team. These guys have fought. They've literally fought for their season. They fought play and there's nobody that that you know has to be here. And everybody's here and I just think that speaks volumes to our program, but also for their love and respect for each other. And so I think the biggest thing genius just it's just, you know, we're always upbeat. This time of year, for sure, but I just think there's a deeper level of appreciation and gratefulness for the opportunity to go play.
Dennis Todd from CBS Sports: You know your quarterback's always a leader on the field, but I wonder how from your view Trevor became, you know, a leader on the team for social justice and and some of this other stuff too. Now he's a national voice for these players. I don't know if you'd agree. But how did that process take place?
Well, I mean, a very natural process. I mean, you know, certainly the nature of his position puts him in a leadership role but but just because you're a quarterback go make your leader, just because you're a senior, it doesn't make you a leader. Just because you're a freshman. That doesn't mean you're not only you know, so I just think it's been a very natural thing for him. It's something that comes natural to him, you know, he's been a leader for a long time. He's always had a bright light on itself. He's got an incredible foundation to his life. Mom and dad have done a wonderful job with him, he's strong in his faith. He's mature he's grown. And you know he he communicates well with with everyone when you come in in that position. First thing you gotta do is kind of earn the trust and respect teammates and coaches and then you gotta you know you know eventually come the starter. Now you got to become a leader of your offense. And then eventually you hope, like other great players that come through here, you become a leader of the team. And, you know, we've had a lot of guys in that situation. But again, just the world has presented more of an opportunity for him to become more of a national leader just simply again because of the platform that he has the maturity that he has where he is relative to his career. And and then again just you know what all is going on in the world. And, you know, so these young people communicate. I mean, it doesn't matter where you are, they, they can they can you know everybody knows who he is and I think that it's been awesome that he's you know, been willing to listen to other other people's perspectives and players and and not afraid to to be a voice, you know, for you know, things that, you know, he certainly believes it.
Q: Also a football question real quick how unique is it going to have a be having Notre Dame in the league and are you as a fan or a coach going to check their scores every week. I know you have to play him, but you can sneak a look?
Well I sneak a look at everybody I really do. I mean I i'm I'm happy that they're in the league. I wish they were permanent member in the lead, to be honest with you, I think can be great. But Notre Dame is obviously one of the best programs in the history of college football, so I think it's, it's, again, it's, it's a unique year it's a unique situation and, you know, this year we have no divisions 15 teams. But you know every week I always keep up with this with the ACC and what's going on. So yeah. Typically I may not be checking on Notre Dame every week but you know this year. Certainly paying closer attention. You know, because not only do we play them but because they are in the ACC.
Q: Coach Trevor Groves CUTigers.com here. Brian Bresee is listed as co-starter at defensive tackle. What does it say about him as a player that he can come in and earn that type of trust from you and Coach V?
Just says a lot about how prepared, he was when he got here says a lot about his you know just natural gifts that he has his ability to you know, pick it up. I mean, we asked a lot of these guys defensively. It's a very complex system and sometimes it's, you know, not as easy to come in and and play to your potential early just because you know there's so much to learn. But once you get it, you've got a chance to be special. And we've seen that with many, many, many guys but you know Bryan's pretty unique in that that you know he was able to make the adjustment physically. He's ready the day got here. I mean, he is just a special physical talent. I mean there's just not going to see many young defensive tackles that can move like him have his size have his natural strength of athleticism. The violence, you know, all those things and he just that he brings to the position. But again, his ability to you know process, make the adjustments from a scheme standpoint, have been impressive and a big thing is he was able to come in January and had a lot to learn. You know, fundamentally, technically schematically and and he just put the work in. So it says that, hey, he worked his tail off. You know, from January to now so that he could be in a better position to compete. You know his highest potential as a freshman. And so I'm excited about it. He's very, very talented big energy guy and he's gonna bring a lot of effects for sure.
Q: This is Pete from AP. I was wondering with some of the things that Trevor did during the offseason if you ever thought, hey, it might be too much for young adult to handle or it or it might take away from the the football side of things.
No, no, I didn't worry about anything like that whatsoever. Because again, he's he's, he's very thoughtful very communicative young man always seeks guidance. You know, he knows where he is as far as his walk in life and his maturity and what he you know has been exposed to and those type of things. He's saying communicator listens seeks advice. But very mature very mature, you never have to worry about Trevor, he's always going to you know, do what's right and you know speak from his heart, you know, continue to learn as he goes, but never any concerns for me at all, especially when it comes to take anything taken away from football. This guy's there's nobody loves football more Trevor wars, I can assure you that and that's one of the reasons. He's fought so hard for this season, you know, he loves to play. And not only does he love to play. You know what makes him so great. Is he loves to prepare to play. He likes to he likes to practice. He likes to eat likes to study so never any issues.
Q: Coach Joe Gorchow, hope you're doing well this morning. In terms of the season itself, I'm curious, how will you handle in terms of the football responsibilities to players have along with their willingness and want to to share their voice off for social change. How do you allow that to facilitate that type of movement during the course of a rigorous football season.
Well, I mean, we have routine. I think routine is very, very important. And these guys thrive on that they crave structure they crave routine. They really do. And, you know, we've had a culture here for a long, long time. That is incredibly well established service. Well, and will continue to do that. It's really not any different for us. You know, the only thing that's different this year for us is the seniors because of what you're talking about. They, they decided to change the social media policy. You know, usually every year people write bad articles, because they think I created the social media policy. I never created our social media policy. It has always been been players. I just support them. And it's been that way for a long, long time this year because of all these things that everyone is dealing with, you know, these guys felt like it was important that they you know changed it. And certainly support them in that I have no issues with that at all. So, you know, they, in fact, they just talked about it to the they got up, they had a meeting of their own last night at, you know, after practice and the seniors and addressing the team or what what the pot. Now that we're into game week you know what, what they will the policy to be so they're all on the same page. But the biggest thing is they all respect the culture we have, and they all believe in it and they all respect what we have to do to get ready weekend and week out and and understand that. So, our leadership our seniors have done a great job and you know they'll continue to use their voice in ways to better report it meaningful but but definitely you know they understand they like them. School boards up for a reason and they go through everything they can to prepare to go with.
Q: David Hood from Tigernet. Is there a certain position group that you would be concerned about that you really want to see an action?
Yes, oh, you know, our, our depth and oh well you know I feel really, really good about our first group, but we've got to develop the second group. We got to give them some experience. And so I can't wait to see those guys. I can't wait to see Walker Parks and Tchio and you know some of those some of those young guys and that second group that's going to get a chance to play. You know, I'm excited to Blake Vincent's back you know he missed a lot of camp kind of working back from his knee. But now he's he's he's full go and so I'm excited. He hasn't been able to play a long time. So I'm excited for him to kind of start working his way back in there a little bit as we go as well. So, you know, that's probably the biggest group. That I think we've got to grow up pretty quick. And I know the least about from a game day standpoint.
Q: This is Matt with The State. Have you guys made a decision on the backup quarterback and do you want to get both of those guys some work early in the year to try to get some experience?
You know, Brandon Streeter, you know, kind of told me who we most want out there. Second, if that presented itself that opportunity. So I will support him in that. I mean, all I can tell you is all three of the guys we got. I believe in, I'd have no problem with the those guys running out there. We're going to rip all three guys you know all fall camp. I think is going to be important. We got to have guys ready to play. And you know we got to get hundred pounds. Ready, as well as a preferred walk on that came in here. So we've got to develop as much depth that position and can't get as much experience at that position as we can. Obviously, Taisun, you know, got play four games. Last year, but still needs a lot of experience DJ just getting here so we definitely you know hope to, you know, play as many of those guys as we can as often as we can. But certainly the games dictate that but I do know who our starters going to be and if we get the opportunity to see who goes out there next, we'll see. We'll see. We'll see who Street runs out there.
Q: Dabo, this is Grace with The Athletic. Speaking of Trevor, just for someone who has accomplished everything that he has already done in just two years, what does the next level on the field look like for someone like him?
Yeah, just complete ownership of every detail of the game, you know, pre-snap post now communication protections being just, you know, fanatical about your details when it comes to you know your fundamentals your footwork your ball handling your fakes. You know, carrying out your fakes all those things that's really what it looks like. You know the game really slowing down. Not getting food. And again, that comes from from experience, and he certainly has a ton of experience under his belt now and you know it should show you know, not making some of the careless mistakes. You know, we took a few chances last year that you know just really, really did need to take. So, eliminating some of those things is what you hope to see, and then just just complete leadership in every aspect that you've seen.
Q: Coach it's Trevor from CUTigers again. You talked about what a great spring Cornell Powell had and then he really followed that up and continued it all through August camp and in practice. How excited are you to see him on Saturday night to hopefully transition that into a game?
I'm really excited. Cornell's worked really hard. It's been fun to watch him transform grow and mature, you know, in be coachable, you know, and really grow in the areas that he needed to grow in as football player to earn the opportunity and he's done that said excellent camp. And so I'm real excited. He's one of those guys I'm super excited for really think he's gonna have an excellent year he's taking advantage of every opportunity every practice to come out practice full speed. And when you practice full speed that translates to game day. Really happy for him, proud of him, and excited to see him play a very meaningful role on Saturday.
Q: Larry Williams, Tiger Illustrated.com. Dabo, how would you compare DJ sort of to Trevor and Deshaun at the same point going into their freshman year, just in terms of their ability to process things and how they performed on the practice fields.
Very similar, very similar. He's just fit. You know, he's just physically ahead of where those guys were but from a mental standpoint is very, very similar.
Q: Hey Dabo, Phil Kornblut. What was your reaction when you read or heard the commentary, the reports about Jacksonville intentionally losing games for the purpose of drafting Trevor, and then your name linked to a potential opening with the Jaguars?
Yeah, I heard about that from Ross. Reaction was just laughed at that and had a little fun with Trevor and, you know, but then I'm not worried about the AFC or NFC. I don't even know what they are. I'm just the seriously just excited about being ready for the Deacons. That's it.
Q: Hey coach, this is Tyrese with Clemson Sports Talk. In the past, um, you said that you would be open to scrimmages against other schools. Do you kind of approach this game as a scrimmage since, especially since they are no fans and players can't draw energy from the crowd?
Absolutely not. I approach this game like any other open and we've had ever, you know, because it's going count. This is, you know, scrimmages you don't have a school board. You know, I mean, somebody keep stats, but we don't really know we we control situations and things like that. I would be. Yeah, I would love that. You know, in the spring or even in fall camp. If you could have you know one get together with another team. And so you're not 100% invested with your personnel, you know, sometimes my grandson ankle. It's, it's always one of your guys you know where you could do some 7-on-7 pass, blitz pickup and it's some controlled stuff controlled scrimmage type work, I'd be all for that but I don't, no I don't look at this as a scrimmage. It may not be any fans there but like I said Escobar is going to be lit up, and it'll be millions watching on TV. In fact, this is probably be the most watch college football season ever and probably the most watched points and Wake Forest game ever. That's for sure. So no this is this just like any other opener to me for that aspect of it.
Q: Hey, Andrea Adelson with ESPN. Just wondering how the team is looking health wise going into Saturday and whether you're going to be missing anybody due to testing or contact racing or anything like that.
Yeah, well it's a very unique year in that regard. And usually I'm always very transparent when it comes to you know who's available, who's not and all that stuff, but you know there will definitely be some guys not available. I think every week for every team. And it can change, you know, occasionally, we'll have some guys you know like a like a loop prize, who's out for the year, and certainly you know, are open about those things are situations stage situation like we're dealing with Xavier Thomas. But other than that, you know, yeah, we'll have a few guys that I'm sure will not be able to play for whatever reason, whether it's, you know, some type of short term type of injury thing or covert protocols, whether they're they've had it or quarantine or whatever it may be. In that, that'll probably be the case from week to week so. And almost day to day for all of us, coaches, they kind of what everybody is seems like is decided to do is you know game day just got a here's a veil of blue shoes of a warriors, who's not let's go play.
Q: Coach Swinney, this is Riley Morningstar over with the Seneca newspaper and I was just curious with students moving in starting Friday back on campus. Do you have any heightened concern about the virus may be coming back into town a little bit more? And have you discussed that new component with the players yet?
Oh, absolutely. We've talked a lot about that. And you know, I know that the students aren't necessarily on in our housing yet, but they've been here. Our students have been back for over a couple weeks now. And the reason I know that is that, you know, I get on 123 I can't move because there's traffic. So they're all you know there's we have a lots of off campus housing here in Clemson and so you know, they've been back for a while. And I think there's probably even some students that are here that are staying friends and things like that, just waiting to move into their dorms. But, you know, we definitely have spent a lot of time talking our god guys have done a great job. They really have, you know, we had a couple guys, you know, last I think we've had four guys and, you know, since, you know, early July. We had a couple guys last week been done this week and testing has ramped up big time. You know, so you know we're testing Sunday, Wednesday, Friday. And who knows, hopefully at some point maybe testing every day. But we've talked a lot about it and you know everybody has to take ownership and do a great job of following protocols and just we have a great bubble with you will hear. But keeping their circle time, when they're away from here and just, you know, protecting themselves protecting the team and and you know even you can do everything right. You can you can still get it but we need to you know, not do unnecessary things to give herself with continue to give ourselves the best chance we can week out and our guys have really done a great job with that. So super proud of them. And again, students have been back. So they've been they've been managing that very well. These last few weeks.
Q: Josh from The Post and Courier. Tell us what was it like being able to share that moment with Deshaun and that zoom call. Did it put things in perspective for you as you prepare started another season?
It was fine. You know, I was gonna go, they really wanted to surprise him and you know I'd actually talked to him that morning, which was, which was crazy. I didn't even know I was doing until that afternoon but but that morning we had I'd actually call him and we talked about you know what was going on because it's like Saturday morning right before we get ready to go to practice it broken and so it was good to be able to call in and just have a little short conversation and congratulate him. LAUGH So, so that was even better because that, like I said, I already talked to him, but a chance to just be a part of that moment with him was special really proud of him and not surprised at all. I mean, he's just a great young man, he's he's so relentless when it comes to his pursuit of excellence and everything he does and being a great leader, being a great quarterback leading his team and you know excited to see him play I guess Thursday night. And excited to see him win a Super Bowl at some point that's common and when when but that's coming for him and be another great moment we're proud of all of our guys, you know, to me it's all about just seeing these guys leave a program and and go on, you know, I think, I think we last year we had 100% job placement. This year I think we're at 90% right now as we said, you know, with a couple guys still pending. You know, so I take pride and all of our guys when they're going to the NFL achieve their dreams, their or, you know, starting their careers, find the first homes getting married, having, having children, whatever it is, you know, I love just being a part of the journey of all these guys.
Dabo, it's Pete again. I don't know if you watched any of the BYU/Navy game yesterday, but the Navy coach kind of blamed the performance on their conservative approach about contactless practices and things like that. I was wondering how you handled contact practices this preseason or this offseason in regard to the virus and wanting to keep guys fresh.
I mean we just do what we've always done. I didn't really change anything from a, from a practice standpoint, only thing that really changed was the pace. Of instant with the pace of how we did things a crack is just simply because we had more time so you know what I used to get done in two weeks I was able to do in three and a half weeks, for example. But as far as how we practice how we prepare, you know nothing. Nothing changed in that regard. You know early on in camp. You know, I had a little bit more conditioning type stuff to do to get the team, you know, when you do it. For a long time, just have certain instincts and you just kind of have a feel for you know where your team is and when to push and when to pull back and and so I think I think every year. It's different. But this year again with so much more time. I didn't want it to get to where it was a grind. I tried it. I tried to keep it fun and exciting for and I tried to I literally change the pace of installation that the pace of what we do to get ready. But as far as how we practice, we haven't done anything different.
Ross Taylor: We'll take one final question for coach.
Trevor Groves: Coach, I guess I'll ask it. Obviously going to be no fans in the stands on Saturday night, but I believe Wake Forest is going to be pumping in crowd noise per the ACC allowances. Usually you have a lot of Clemson fans in the stands there in Winston Salem. Do you think it might actually be louder up there with the pumping crowd noise, and how will that affect your communications on offense?
Listen, I, I really don't care, man. I'm just excited to play. I mean, they can pipe in Marvin Gaye, or whatever they want, man, let's let's crank it up. I'm just excited that we get the opportunity to play and you know, I know there's a policy and levels and all that stuff. But man, you know, we're just, we're just looking forward to it fans know fans. We're just trying to win the open and, you know, move on from there. Look forward to it.
Ross Taylor: All right, everybody. Thank you for joining us. Feed with clean audio available on the ACC media portal, we will reopen this room in about 20 minutes and begin with player availability. Thank you.