Press Conference report, ACC Title game


I was surprised the writers tended to lay off the subject of Sakerlina, nearly everything was about Georgia Tech. I hear the coaches didnt even showcase the SC film to the team, and have gone back to the tape of the first meeting with GT instead. Its a fine strategy that I'd use too, not much you could learn when you see yourself playing that bad on film and the defense doesnt need to see SC at all, because it wouldnt help them one bit this week.

Swinney on GT:

"They're averaging 6.4 per play. They're averaging over 5 per rush. They're only averaging about five pass plays per game. They kind of survive off chunk plays. They're averaging over 24 yards per pass play. It doesn't matter who they play. They're going to do what they do. They do an excellent job of throwing you some curve balls throughout the course of the game. It's critical that we play physical and everyone does their job. We have got to tackle. That's critical when we play these guys. Everyone has to rally to the ball. We have to have our eyes on the right keys and reads and trust what you've been coached to do.

"Defensively, they've been consistent. They've got two or three nice blitz schemes that they mix up. They line up and play good, disciplined football. No. 91 (Derrick Morgan) I think is the best player we've played all year. I thought by far he was the most complete guy, defensive line-wise. He's a very complete player. He's a no-doubt first round draft pick.

Yes pretty much all season its been run run run, hit Thomas on a bomb. Their defense is not what I'd call good though, its pretty average. They were playing a nickel base defense with a "wolf" as the 2nd SS, basically a rover or someone who drops in the box to stop the run, but have simplified it to a base 4-3 and they've improved somewhat, but I wouldnt call them good. DT T.J. Barnes has potential. Morgan though, is just outstanding.

Talk about Georgia Tech's skill on offense.

Dabo: "Dwyer is almost falling forward in that stance. He is downhill in a hurry. I mean gone. He's a big kid. And he can run. He's a fast guy. But you have to be able to win the physical matchup. You have to be able to stop the point of attack. If he gets any type of room at all, it's ten yards, easy. It's hard to tackle him. He's a great player. He's a durable player. He has been carrying a lot of the load for several years. Nesbitt is outstanding. He's got a great feel for that offense. And he's a very capable thrower. He made two huge plays against us to beat us."

I disagree about Nesbitt's passing ability, but otherwise thats right. Dwyer is damn good. Now for Morgan:

Will you prepare at all with Hairston at right tackle?

Swinney: "I think we've played very well at right tackle. We didn't play well Saturday. Didn't play well at all. Sometimes guys just have a bad game. But Landon has really come on and has done a nice job. I don't see any drastic changes there at all. Obviously we've got a plan A, B and C. You're not very smart if you go into a game against a dominant player with just one plan. We did an adequate job in the first game against him. He's going to make some plays, so you want to minimize his impact. But Landon and David have done an excellent job for us."

 

How much more comfortable do you feel with your offensive line now than in week two, particularly going up against Derrick Morgan?

NAPIER: "We've done several things to help improve our front guys. The same things we talk about every week. Freeman obviously making the move to starting center; Landon emerging and Smith emerging and having the capability of playing three tackles and four inside guys. Mason's versatility has really helped us keep those guys fresh throughout the game. We're a different team. We've had some guys who have really stepped up since then."

 

Landon has said he doesn't expect much help with Morgan, and that you guys don't like to handicap your offense with 2-on-1 situations. What's the plan for stopping him?

NAPIER: "I'm not going to get into the details, obviously. But in my opinion, Derrick Morgan is the best player we've played the whole season. He's a dominant player. He's a Top 10 NFL Draft pick. He's a really, really outstanding player. Great motor. Great fundamentally, size, quickness, plays well with his hands. He's a really good player. He's obviously a guy we're going to have to have a plan for, very similar to when we had to have a plan for Jerry Hughes. Obviously that's our job as coaches.

"We want Landon to feel like he can do the job himself. He's very capable. But at the same time, we're going to do some things within the game to make sure that we have a plan, just like every team has done that has played him."

Are they moving Morgan around any more than they were when you faced them?

NAPIER: "They do. They move him around. As the season has progressed, they've had to move him around to maybe deal with some things that have been going on. Coach Wommack is a sharp guy. He's got a marquee player. He's going to put him in a position where he can help the defense be better. So he lines up a lot of different places. For the most part, he's going to line up over the right tackle."

Well it took you a whole half to adjust to it the first time. Please tell me you are going to make a quicker decision if he eats Landon Walker up on the first two drives. And notice, Lambert's name went unmentioned...complete waste of a scholarship. All I would note is that Morgan ran completely out of gas from the late 3rd quarter onwards against Hairston, and wasn't a factor in the game in the 2nd half.

Against South Carolina, was there something they were doing that invited you to run more out of shotgun, spread sets?

NAPIER: "I think it was more a product of the game than anything. Once we got behind, I think that impacted where we were at in this game. I think the Carolina game comes more down to missed opportunities early when we had a chance to capitalize on some momentum and we didn't do that."

OK billy, so youre just a dipshit. I'm glad we cleared it up. You didnt capitalize because you wouldn't commit to running the football and you didnt have to throw until the late 3rd quarter and 4th quarter, and by then we had what? 40 yards rushing? I recall several 3rd & shorts when you wouldnt just line up and run the damn ball.

 

On why the Flexbone isnt used more today in college football:

Question: Why aren't more teams doing that?

Dabo: "Recruiting. It always goes back to recruiting. Nowadays you have to win recruiting battles too. Now, he'll always be able to recruit guys for his system. He'll get the QB that he needs, the RB that he needs."

Which echoes what Steele said about Georgia Tech earlier this year.

"I just talked to the guys at ESPN about that. Their question was, can this (option) offense work (in college football today)? And the answer is yes. It can. It was working when people stopped doing it. What happen was a recruiting thing. Everybody wanted to go to the NFL, so quarterbacks wanted to be at schools where they were throwing it around and that's why you walk out here in the summer time or any other college campus and they've got 50 teams in a passing camp. You go to any high school and they're out there throwing it around out there. That had been the case for years in California and it sort of swept through the rest of the nation. So there's just not a lot of people running the option today. You just don't see it a lot in high school games. You can go to high school games now and at times barely see a running back. A lot of people are shotgun snapping. There are coaches who sign quarterbacks who have never spent any time under center. That transition has affected why people went away from the option. It wasn't because it wasn't working."

 What did coach Spurrier say to you after the game?

Dabo: "He was great. Coach Spurrier made an interesting comment to me. He's been in enough of these rival games as a coach. A couple of their coaches also texted me after the game. He said, 'You know what, I lost to Florida State many times and went and turned around and won the conference the next week. That's what's important. Go get it done. Y'all can do it.' I thought that was very nice of him and very encouraging, him trying to pick me up. He didn't have to say that to me. So I appreciated that encouragement."

That was surprising to hear from Steve.

Now for the defense....ugh.

What was your take on how your interior defensive guys played Saturday and how important will it be for them to be disruptive?

Dabo: "Jamie Cumbie I thought played very well. But overall we didn't play well. Outside of that, we didn't play very well. We didn't play well anywhere to be honest with you. Guys not lining up right, guys not playing proper gaps, guys rushing up the field. Didn't play well. Didn't play smart. We didn't play smart, gap control football. We didn't play well with our eyes at d-line, linebacker or defensive back."

 

Linebackers peeking into gaps they weren't assigned to, and being out of position when the back came up the gap they were assigned to take....Linemen not controlling blockers or staying in their gaps....

On playing GT twice and it being an advantage for us to have seen it once already...

Steele:

"Well it helps them, too.  They've got the same film.  Yes, in some ways.  In some ways it does.  But in some ways it doesn't.  There are some negatives and positives.  They're just about equal."

"We broke down ten games in the summer on them.  And then we've broken down this season on them.  And it's the same.  And if you go back and watch the Navy film, it's still the same.  The thing that Paul does a good job of is he calls the plays and he's just going to see how you're lining up and then he's going to attack.  If you're giving them something, he'll find it pretty quick, and then you have to get that stopped.  He stays kind of a step ahead a lot of the time in his play-calling.

"You can't put too much on the first game.  But you can't just cast it out either.  He's calling on the looks that he's seeing.  He sees so much.  They say he watches film on fast forward, that he's just watching players, because the way you line up in a traditional game is not relative to him and what they're going to do."

I'd say its about equal too, you have to throw some wrinkles like exchanging the responsibilities of players or changing the front look, because Johnson calls off the looks you give them. Da'Quan Bowers said that they had a little wrinkle where he took the Dive (instead of the MLB or a DT), which just means that we'll be rolling up someone from the secondary to take the pitch man.

"That was just one little wrinkle. I think we called it seven times in the game and in the second half we didn't call it any, maybe one or two times at the most."

Is there any correlation between what happened Saturday and with what Georgia Tech does?  Gap control has been a theme with the defensive front.

"Let me give you a little tidbit.  What would you say if I told you per rush that four other teams rushed the ball better than South Carolina did?  Now, we played terrible.  Not saying we didn't.  We played bad.  We were not ourselves.  But be careful what you do with numbers.  Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech and TCU all rushed - per carry - more than South Carolina.  And we take passing stats off.  A sack doesn't count in rushing yards.  If you get eight sacks in a game and lose 40 yards, you can't evaluate your run defense off that.  So we do it NFL-wise.  There were 57 carries for 233 yards, not 58 carries for 223.

".....It became clearer after we dissected it.  Guys got to pressing after they made plays.  You got guys pressing to make plays, you've got problems.

"We have to make sure we do it like we've done it the other ten or 11 times, not the one time and the bottom line is you can't start pressing to make a play..... Just pressing too hard, it's not anything more or less than that."

Is there any correlation from what you saw Saturday versus what Georgia Tech does mid-line?

"No.  I guess you could say with eyes, yes.  With technique, yes.  But in terms of alignment and deployment, no.  It's totally different."

I would disagree. The same read, yes (eyes) with the same technique. In terms of alignment and deployment, well of course the alignment is different and in some cases the veer or zone block side of the spread midline is obviously different from a base block on the backside of the flex midline, but its the same play just shifted to a spread formation.

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