Swinney Talks BC, Injuries and Where the Tigers Need to Improve

Zach Lentz

The Clemson Tigers enter another Saturday as huge favorites over an ACC opponent. A week after the Tigers were 46.5-point favorites against Syracuse, it is the Boston College Eagles who find themselves on the receiving end of a massive point spread.

The Tigers are currently favored by 32-points, but don't tell Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney that his team is expected to have their way with the Eagles—this is a different Boston College team under first-year head coach Jeff Hafley.

"I think he was in the pros most of his career, I think. And comes over (to Ohio State) and does a great job and gets this job and he's got them playing with a lot of confidence, and a lot of good energy and belief in what they're doing," Swinney said. "I mean they really the V. Tech game got away from them, but you win a close game like they win against Pitt, and then pretty much control the Duke game. Texas State was a good win for them as well. So, you know, control the game against Georgia Tech this past week and, again, just building momentum."

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec has burst onto the scene as the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Jurkovec’s 1600-plus yards over his first five games are the most by any BC quarterback in school history. 

He is the first player in BC history to total four, 300-yard passing games in his first five career starts at quarterback and the first BC quarterback with four or more 300-yard games in a season since Matt Ryan (2007).

"They got them a quarterback in there got a couple other transfers, in a couple different spots that have been good fit for them but this quarterbacks a heck of a player man he's making them go, they're doing, they're doing a really nice job with him and creating some explosives downfield with their scheme," Swinney said. "They are throwing it you know all over the place, so that, I think, that's a reflection of again good coaches and their ability to, you know, have diversity within their scheme. And, and it's also a reflection of their quarterback and their belief in him."

"(BC is) putting a lot on this quarterback, cuz he can do it, and he's big strong kid man it can run and they run the quarterback power I mean, he's a factor in the game run an and throwing," Swinney added.

However, it is not only the quarterback that has the attention of Swinney. Just because they are throwing the ball more than they have in previous season, they are still the same old bloody-your-nose BC team with a big offensive line that wants to impose their will.

"Kind of your typical, you know, BC offensive line I mean I think they're all back," Swinney said. "I think pretty much got the whole OL back and you know they they they've kind of got the personnel that was there. And, you know, got that big tight end back and. And it was a (Zay) Flowers is a fast kid, so I think they're just doing a good job of taking what was there and trying to blend it with what they want to do."

"These guys are playing with great confidence," Swinney said. "...We'll have our hands full. This will be a well-coached team playing with a lot of belief." 

Tigers Need to Improve on First Downs:

"It was actually pretty good. Run game, really pleased with what we are doing there. A few discipline things we need to clean up. I mean, we were averaging 8, 9, 10 yards per pop on the RPO stuff and that's all part of your run game. Our offensive line has played great all year. It was just a little inconsistent upfront (Saturday). It was inconsistency with communication and discipline things. Just some miscues. But they were solid. We're aggressive. We aren't just going to run on it first and second downs and throw it on third down. We are always going to mix it up. We are built to take what people give us. We can throw for 500 or rush for 500. We are a balanced offense."

Swinney's statement was echoed by offensive coordinator Tony Elliott Monday:

"Some games better than others. I think we've been aggressive on first down trying to take shots. And we've had some miscues on first down that has gotten us behind the chains. So definitely an area that we want to continue to stress because over the long haul, you want to be efficient on first down so you're not in long-yardage situations. Some games better than others, but definitely an area we want to continue to grow. And a lot of it has been unfortunate mishaps on our part, a missed throw, a missed read, a breakdown in technique... all things that are correctable. So definitely not a concern, but something we've got to stress and something we've tracked and have got to continue to improve." 

Skalski out for a few games:

"I've been trying to make sure y'all know that that's kind of where we are. Unfortunately, you know, really did not find out until last night. You know we got the MRI back late and really felt like Skalski was gonna be good to go. He was feeling pretty good.

We got a quick MRI, it looks like he's gonna have to have some scope of scope surgery. So he's gonna be out for a few games so just go ahead and put that out there, so he's at. That's a big loss for us."