Swinney: Good morning. Good to get back home. Looking forward to getting back in the Valley this week. Proud of our team in how they played on the road this year. Next up for us is Maryland. The mentality is exactly the same. This is the biggest game of the year. That's been our mentality all year, nothing changes. The formula is exactly the same. It's technique and all-in commitment.
Offensively, obviously they have suffered a lot of injuries. I was very impressed with what they did this past week in just a few days. They had to take another guy, insert him in at quarterback from the linebacker position. They've now had two weeks to get No. 31 ready to go. They run a lot of screens, read-option and then they'll take their shots. Their offensive line is very solid. Running backs are good. No. 4 has been very good. No. 1, at wide out, is second in the league in all-purpose yards in [Stefan] Diggs. He's a guy that really can make things happen for him. No. 89, their tight end has made plays on us every year.
Defensively, this is probably as good of unit as we've played. They lead the league in sacks. Vellano - I can't believe he's still there. He's been there for like 10 years. No. 72 - plays with a high motor. He leads the league in tackles loss. Very productive group up front. Linebackers - they are mostly a three down linemen unit but they'll bring a linebacker up a lot of times. They have big strong guys in the secondary.
Special teams are a big part of this game like they were last year. Diggs is a very dangerous return guy that we have to contain.
The thing for us is that we have to continue to improve and learn to be consistent performers. We have a special opportunity this week to set the home winning record. That would be a great record to be a part of. Our guys are excited about that opportunity. I'm proud of that consistency that we've been able to be a part of at home and a big part of that has been our fans.
The crowd has been awesome and it's been a factor. It's Homecoming, there are a lot of great things going on. Look forward to this week every year driving through campus and seeing the students work. Love the energy on campus. Hope I can visit the students building the floats. We'll participate with Tigerama Friday and then get ready for this big game Saturday.
How do you prepare for their quarterback and the unknowns he will present to your defense?
Swinney: We are going to have to be smart and really do a good job and how we apply our system. We'll probably see some different things. They do a lot of things if you aren't sound. They run a lot of zone-read, a lot of Utah, a lot of play-action. Quarterback did a good job running the ball. He was feeling his way around from the passing game stand point. He probably made some throws he'd like to have back but he only had three days to prepare. I was personally very impressed with him and the motions and snap counts. I think they will be better this week. We have to apply our defense to their formations. We aren't going to see something we've never seen before unless they completely change and I don't think they will do that.
Is Andre Ellington on pace to return?
Swinney: He is on pace to return. We expect him to do a little bit more today. Felt pretty good this morning. But we aren't going to force him into action. If he's not, we'll go with the other guys. They are more than capable. I expect him to.
What do you think the theory is behind teams playing so much man to man against you the last few weeks has been?
Swinney: I guess just trying to force the action a little bit. To be honest with you, our ability to run the football has helped us. That's what they do. People are who they are. Ultimately it comes down to winning matchups. We felt like going into the game last week there would be opportunities presented and if we could hit on them we would have big plays, and we did. Great job up front protecting. Tajh threw the ball beautifully. We won the matchup.
Clemson and Florida State are 16-2 rest of the division is 16-20. Why is that?
Swinney: I know Florida State has recruited well. I think we have recruited well. I'm just focused on Clemson and being the best program that we can be. Trying to compete for this conference consistently. Everybody else has to figure out their issues. The league has kind of beat each other up a little bit. There's been a lot of back and forth. Look at what happened last week at N.C. State - Virginia went into Raleigh and put up 33 points. You have to come ready to play or you will get beat. That's why I'm proud of our guys because they have learned how to win. It's a mindset. I'm just focused on Clemson.
What are your thoughts on Virginia Tech and Florida State Thursday night and how in relates to your team?
Swinney: We don't control that. We really have not got very emotional about things we don't control. When you get emotional about stuff that's when you have issues. External issues are distractions. Our daily prep. Our commitment. Our execution. Our performance. Attention to details. That's what our guys are focused on. If Florida State beats Virignia Tech Thursday night, nothing changes for Clemson. If Virignia Tech wins, we still have a ball game to win. Nothing changes. That shouldn't impact our performance one bit. We don't pay much attention to it. Obviously everybody will be watching but in regards to this game, it has nothing to do with it.
Tajh Boyd implied that style points are important to this team right now in regards to polls, etc. Did he mis-speak?
Swinney: I just think you want to play the best you possibly can. What he's talking about is that it's November. That's what he's talking about. You don't want to be stumbling towards the finish line. You want to be playing great. People are making decisions on that right now. You want to play well. You don't want to be sloppy. That was the disappointment for us last year. We were 8-1 just like we are now and then we went 1-2 and didn't play well. Turnovers. This year we have improved along the way and we want to keep that trend going. We just want to play good football so when people watch Clemson they come away from it and say, "You know what? That's a good football team." We want to put a good product on the field.
Spencer Shuey - he really has solid
Swinney: Playing great. Really is. Fast. Physical. Knows exactly what we are doing and has done a great job of lining everybody up. He's performing at a high level. Really really pleased with his performance.
Would you consider moving Stephone Anthony to another position as a result of Shuey's play?
Swinney: Well we will look at things when we get to the spring. We are losing Tig and Corico and they've both played a ton of football. There are no lifetime contracts around here. You have to perform. Period. The end. Shuey has played great. Doesn't mean he'll be the guy in the spring. Other guys will have something to say about that. Sping is just getting the best 11, 22. A lot of times you cross-train guys. We do that on offense and defense.
DeAndre Hopkins - his consistency has been amazing. Can you talk about that?
Swinney: If you go back and track his career from Central Rec, to Edwards Middle to Daniel High to here ... it's the exact same story. He's been incredibly consistent his entire life. He's made that adjustment here, mentally, physcially. He's such a great competitor. Loves it. Loves to practice. Loves to catch the ball. Loves to win. He's very unselfish. Doesn't say a whole lot and has a ton of confidence. All the records and the awards are well-deserved because he has worked really hard.