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Clemson Gator Bowl Quotes

Jan. 1, 2001

Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden “We went three and out the first three series before we got anything going. Getting into an early hole, down 14-0 hurt us. Then we lost Travis Zachery to a broken foot, then Bernard Rambert went out. Keith Kelly did a good job in relief.

“We really didn’t do anything different when Travis went out from a scheme standpoint, but it is a loss when your top rusher goes out.

“Vick made a lot of big plays-he had a lot to do with their ability to make their offense go. Trying to contain Vick was very hard because he is such a good athlete. He is an outstanding runner and passer, and he just has great all-around abilities. It was our goal to keep more than one player on him defensively, but it was tough to do.

“Not being chosen for the BCS was a good motivation for them. We had to play our best to win and we did not.

“Going from six to nine wins shows we have the right idea from a scheme standpoint. The most difficult win is to get the 10th and 11th wins, that is the hardest jump to make. We have a commitment from the administration to make that jump.

“We know the seniors wanted to go out with 10 wins, but the seniors have set a firm foundation for us.

“The disappointing aspect of the special teams was that we dribbled a couple back to start the game. Our special teams’ players must have been reading the papers as to how good they are in that area and it affected them. We had to win the special teams battles and we didn’t.

“Virginia Tech has the entire package. They offense is diverse and their kicking game is outstanding. They are also outstanding on defense. The fact that they played for the national championship last year and won 11 games again this year says a lot about their program.

“We didn’t do a good job in the redzone. When the other team is making plays and scoring touchdowns you have to come back with something other than a field goal. We had been outstanding in that area this year, but not today. Some of our problems were mental, but for the most part they just beat us physically when we got into the redzone.

Chad Carson, LB “I am really disappointed by the loss, but we have had nine wins and a lot of national exposure. I am confident in our team we will have next year. We have several young defensive linemen that look really good. We will be a totally different team.”

“Virginia Tech minimized their mistakes and took advantage of ours. We had too many turnovers and penalties. I aspire for the Tigers to be a team like them.”

Justin Watts, WR “These coaches are going nowhere but up. This team is made up of hard working guys with great work ethics. Clemson is going to be a great team next year. In the next few weeks, we have recruits coming in that will help us win a National Championship in the next few years.”

Will Merritt, OL “God has really blessed Clemson football this year. We have had very few injuries and a successful season. We are not pleased with our three losses, but even one loss is bad. In the past three years we have gone from three to six to nine wins. All that is left for us to do is to win a National Championship next year.”

Kyle Young, OL “Virginia Tech is a very athletic team with an outstanding defense. This was an emotional game- any bowl game is because it the last game for many of the guys. We were unable to cash in on a lot of opportunities. We made too many mistakes. Clemson is a great football team and will be very successful next year.”