Dabo Swinney on Lamar Jackson: ‘He’s pretty special’

A few weeks removed from Clemson’s 42-36 thrilling win over the #3 ranked Louisville Cardinals, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney was still praising Cardinal quarterback Lamar Jackson. Prior to the game, Swinney referred to Jackson as a right-handed Michael Vick, a compliment he echoed Monday on The Jim Rome Show.

“Man, I’m glad that he’s gone. I don’t have to worry about him hopefully for another year. He’s pretty special,” Swinney said of the sophomore Heisman candidate. “He’s just a dynamic guy, relentless competitor. That would be the biggest thing I say.”

Several Clemson turnovers kept Jackson and the Louisville offense on the field all night and Swinney said Jackson became better as the game went on. “We talked a lot about our defense playing 105 snaps, but their quarterback played the same amount of snaps,” Swinney said. “He got stronger as the game went, and I was very impressed with just his will to win for his team and his completeness, his toughness. He is really a special player.”

Swinney said Jackson’s the sort of talent that does not come around the game very often.

“He’s one of those guys from time to time in this business you kind of hold your breath a little bit when they touch it, except he touches it every play and he has the ability to make a big play at any time,” Swinney said. “I don’t know him personally, but he just seems like a guy that is truly committed to winning and I got a lot of respect for that. But I thought he was a great player coming in and nothing changed when the game was over.”

The 2015 Bear Bryant Award Winner also talked about the will his team showed stopping Jackson and Louisville when the game was on the line.

“For our guys to find a way to win… in that type of game. There were over 200 snaps in the game and it came down to one play, fourth down. You make it, you win. You don’t make it, you lose. These guys they believe,” Swinney said. “And we’ve won like 19 or 20 at home, we got the longest home winning streak in the country, and they just think they’re supposed to win, and they just believe they are going to win and I think that is a beautiful thing to be a part of when you got a group of young men that can come together like that, and no matter what, continue to believe, and that’s what I told them after the game in the locker room.”

At this point in the season, Swinney says this 2016 team is ahead of last year’s team that advanced to the BCS National Championship game. Swinney noted several reasons why, but also talked about the importance of wide receiver Mike Williams. Williams broke his neck in last year’s opener, and Swinney says his presence is undeniable.

“He’s a game changer. He really creates a lot of problems for the defense, especially the coordinators as far as how you are going to play us, how you’re going to defend us,” Swinney said. “He just is so big and strong and physical, great ball skills, so it’s a cat and mouse game. And if you are going to try to roll up and commit two guys to him, well then, you’re going to open up things for our quarterback and Gallman and our tight end and those other receivers that we have. He just creates a problem; he commands attention from the defense. You can’t just say we’re going to put this guy out there, you have to put a lot of thought into how you’re going to defend him, so that’s what he does. And for us he’s just a playmaker, I mean when he’s covered he’s open. He makes some of the most unbelievable plays.”


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