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October 24, 2012

Dabo Swinney Q-&-A

Since he was promoted as Clemson's head coach Dabo Swinney is 3-0 versus Wake Forest.

The No. 13 Tigers (6-1, 3-1 ACC) have won three in a row since losing 49-37 at then No. 3 Florida State.

Swinney spoke with Deacons Illustrated and other members of the media about the challenge his team will face in the Demon Deacons (4-3, 2-3 ACC) Thursday in Winston-Salem.

You've suffered some injuries recently in your secondary, just wondering how the depth is looking there for you, and if you may have to move some players around to help out with that? "Yeah, we're very thin. There's no doubt about that, but it's an opportunity for a couple of those young guys to get maybe their first significant chance a guy like Cortez Davis, who is getting better just because he's had a couple of guys in front of him, but now we're very thin. He's getting a lot of practice time, and that's really what he needs to improve. He just needs a lot of reps, so we're able to give those to him, so you could see a guy like him getting an opportunity here pretty soon."

"We've got [Xavier] Brewer and Garry Peters, they're the starting corners. It doesn't look like [Bashaud] Breeland's going to be able to go. We're hopeful he might be better by today. He's got some type of abdominal strain. He's just still not quite well enough. We were hoping he'd be better today. We're in dyer straights right now."

You're seven games into this season. I was just wondering what do you think is the identity of your football team? "Blue-collar, just improving, a team that's focused on trying to get better. I think we got a team that's competitive, a team that responds to adversity when the situation presents itself, but I like these guys, good leadership and that's where we are right now, kind of a work in progress."

What have you learned most about your team since that Florida State game? "Well, just again we've got good players and they play hard. They handle adversity. The Florida State game we played our tails off. We got the lead most of the game, had opportunities to close the door in all three phases, and just couldn't get it closed. You got to give Florida State their credit for that. They kind of kicked it back open as we were shutting it. They made plays. They made a play on offense, they made a huge play in special teams, they made a couple of big plays on defense in that fourth quarter, and just kind of turned everything around."

"It's tough, but what do you from that point and these guys are about the right things. They went back to work. They realized we got to keep getting better. It's a long season. Over the last three weeks I see our team really improving, and that's what we got to continue to do. We got a good group of guys. They're fun to coach. They want to be good. They want to win, and I think they've really bought into it's really about Clemson, it's about how we prepare and execute and the energy and enthusiasm that we play with. Hopefully we can just stay focused on the task at hand and just try to be the best we can be."

Wake Forest hasn't given up 20 points in neither of the last two games. Looking at them on film is it because the opponents they've played or do they look they're playing better defense in recent games? "They do a great job on defense. They're a little bit different. They're in an odd front most of the time, and really good in the secondary. They're active at linebacker."
"Up front that number 50, the little nose guard they got, he is the heart and soul of their offense. There's a lot of movement. They bring pressure. They just do a good job of executing their schemes. Like I said earlier they are well-coached. They know what they're doing, and they rarely beat themselves. They do an excellent job of taking care of the football and creating turnovers, and that's been a big key for them."


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