The Tiger Pregame Show
January 1st, 2018
1:30-4:30 Central Time
2:30-5:30 Eastern Time
WCCP 105.5 FM In Upstate Of South Carolina
wccpfm.com and Tune In App Streaming For Free
Q. Is the offense where you envisioned it would be after 12 games right now?
COACH DABOLL: I'm really focused on this week. I don't go back in terms of numbers or anything like that. And we'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we weren't concentrating solely on the task at hand with the team that we're about to play, personnel‑wise, scheme‑wise. Look, you try to put together a good plan every week, execute that plan and give your players the best chance to be successful. And that's really where our focus is right now.
Q. The trademarks of the SEC defense are athleticism, scheme. Can you just talk about Clemson?
COACH DABOLL: Yeah, this is the most talented team that we've played. It's very well‑coached. Again, they've only given up 30 points one time this year, 38‑31 against North Carolina State. They've given up 20 points twice. One game they lost to Syracuse 27‑24. And Louisville, I think, scored 21. Other than that, they've been under 20 every game. They're exceptional on third down. It's just a challenge. It's a challenging defense in terms of the personnel and the scheme that Coach [Brent] Venables runs. This is the first time I've had about a month here. It's a little different for me coming from the National Football League where you only have a couple weeks if you're one seed or two seed. So we've had a lot of time to go through every play you can go through the whole season and pass things and analyze everything you can analyze. There's a lot of information. But no question, this is a good football team.
Q. First of all, like you said, coming from the NFL, can you tell me what's the most similar thing working for [Bill] Belichick and [Nick] Saban and what's the most different? And, secondly, as the guy who won here last year, do you use last year's game to scout this game, or is it totally for you what they've done this season?
COACH DABOLL: To answer your first question, Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach [Nick] Saban are very similar. They're very demanding. They're very detailed. They expect your best effort. They expect you to leave no stone unturned. You have a responsibility to the team. That's your role. Whatever your role is, is very important, whether you're an assistant coach, whether you're a quarterback, whether you're a running back, whether you're a guy that does the video or the equipment. So everybody has a role in the organization. They're the leaders that are in charge of the organization. So, obviously, you have two extremely successful leaders. And so they're very, very similar in terms of how they run an organization, the principles and values that they stand for. So it's been a transition for me. I've worked for Coach [Nick] Saban as a GA twenty‑some years ago. Not much has changed.
Q. Differences between the two?
COACH DABOLL: I think Nick [Saban] dresses a little better. (Laughter) But, no. They're both outstanding to work for. I mean, I've been blessed. 14 of the 20 years that I've been doing this, I've got to learn from those two men, not just football, scheme‑wise, which they're exceptional at, but how they run an organization.
Q. When you left college football the last time versus now, how much has changed?
COACH DABOLL: Well, look, this league that I've been privileged to be a part of has been unbelievable, extremely good talent. There's not, like, huge, huge differences. There's some scheme things in terms of the quarterback runs and some of the things that you can do, sure. But everything is run here very professionally through Coach [Saban]. And the competition is great in the SEC. The fan base is unbelievable. The atmosphere. It's pretty interesting. The crowds and everything that goes along with the pageantry with being involved in the SEC from my first year has been a little bit eye‑opening because it's packed houses. I mean, it's pretty cool. It's pretty cool.
Q. How has your relationship with Jalen [Hurts] evolved from when you first got here?
COACH DABOLL: Well, I think, when you come in as a new person ‑‑ and it's not just with Jalen [Hurts]. It's Calvin [Ridley], Boze (Bradley Bozeman); it's any of those guys. Your goal is to try to help those guys be better players as a coach. So anything that you can do to try to improve them and teach them is important for that role, I think. But having a personal relationship with your players, they don't really care how much you know until they know how much you care. I've got a lot of respect for all the guys in our room. It's a demanding program. They work their tails off. They're good in their preparations. They practice hard. They're good students. They're good guys. So every day it's just like you and I met. We have to start somewhere and build up that relationship. And it's been good. I've got a good relationship with them.