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Clemson @ Virginia Postgame Quotes

Clemson @ Virginia Postgame Quotes

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

Opening Remarks:“It was a great road win for us. I like how our guys showed up with great focus and energy and really had some clean execution tonight in all three phases. It was probably our cleanest game in a while as far as putting it all together. A big stat for me is the turnovers. When we win the turnover margin, we are a pretty hard team to beat. We had 21 points off of turnovers. We fixed some things from the red zone last week.”

“There were huge contributions from a number of people offensively. Tajh Boyd had a tremendous performance. I thought he played very disciplined within the system tonight, and hopefully that is something he can continue to do throughout the stretch as we finish this up. Sammy Watkins was awesome. We had good contributions from our backs in the passing game in particular. Defensively, there were three turnovers forced by freshmen, so it was great seeing those young guys get out there and make some huge plays. Jayron [Kearse] was a big spark for us with the interception. We held them to ten points and 200-something yards and that is a tough chore. Our punting was tremendous. It is our eighth road win and I think it is the first time we have been undefeated on the road in the ACC in a long time. The guys deserve all the credit because they have gotten themselves ready and have found ways to win games. Again, this is the most complete game that we have had. This team will be judged based on how we finished, but we had a good start to November.”

On Tajh Boyd:“Fun is in the winning. We always have fun when we win. He had a great week of practice. He has practiced well. Last week was big for him to get that win, finish the game like he did, and have the kind of practice that he did. We limited him in practice on Monday and Tuesday, but he was very engaged, jumped right back in on Wednesday, and took it to the game field tonight. I loved his demeanor. He was excited about being back here in Virginia tonight. Those senior guys know the end is coming and I think they all have a great appreciation for what they have been able to accomplish here at Clemson University.  They want to finish strong, so it was good to see him have that success tonight. I have no doubt he will continue to do whatever he can to finish strong.”

On the long touchdown play:“That was really good execution. We work on that every week and change up the scenarios. It was good seeing those guys drive down the field, take what is there, not force anything, and manage the sideline like we did. We had a great sense of urgency with every first down we got. It was good that we had those timeouts left and punching that in right then really gave us good momentum coming out of the half.”

On playing substitutes:“It was to give the other guys a chance to play. I believe in playing people. These guys practice hard, and they deserve to play. That game was not over, but I had all the confidence in the world in Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly that they would be able to go in there and run the offense. I don’t have to have number 10 in there to execute the system. We thought that touchdown was a good way for him to call it a night and finish, but again I have all the confidence in our guys to play and perform. It was a great opportunity for Cole and Chad.”

On their freshmen:“The three turnovers were all caused by the freshmen, so we have some great young talent that is just coming on for us. I am excited for those guys and the impact they have made and are going to make as we continue to develop them.”

Virginia Head Coach Mike London

On game:“Obviously, Clemson is an excellent football team. Tajh Boyd is as-advertised, and Sammy Watkins as well. They took advantage of a lot of things that we couldn’t capitalize on. Their defense is fast and athletic. They played well. We didn’t play well enough or coach well enough. We’ve played a lot of good teams, and that’s one of the better ones we’ve played.

On giving up three quick touchdowns in the second quarter:“You can’t have situations like that when you’re playing such a dynamic team. They capitalized on those turnovers with quick scores. You almost have to play a perfect game in order to play with an excellent team like Clemson. I was proud of the guys in that first quarter, but toward the latter part of that second quarter, things started to unravel for us. They took advantage of a lot of things.”

On performance of Tim Harris and the pass defense:“Obviously, he’s dejected. You’re out there on display and everyone sees it when a guy gets behind you. But we’ve seen Sammy [Watkins] get behind a lot of people. The only thing you can do is keep coaching and teaching this young man that better days will come for him. He’ll get better and stronger. He’ll understand a lot of the concepts we’re asking him to do. He has to keep his head up and have a short memory. You don’t forget, but you have to get ready to play again.”

On how Clemson stacks up against other teams Virginia faced:“The thing that they have is an accomplished veteran quarterback. They have vertical threats in their passing game with Watkins and other guys. They threaten you with the read outside and the speed sweep plays. They do a lot of things that affect the way you play. You can’t miss a tackle and you can’t be a step too late or too slow because they exploit that.”

On David Watford:“You want the throws to be accurate enough so that you give yourself a chance. We’ll watch the tape and have a better assessment on it tomorrow.”

On team not capitalizing on early momentum:“Those turnovers that happen and the scores in such a short amount of time was the thing that got us on our heels. Trying to adjust from that and get back from that was a hard thing to do.”

On missing three top defenders due to injury:“Injuries are a part of the game. Everybody has injuries on their teams, but when you have three players that are some of your best players, it is difficult. We have got to find a way to make things happen for ourselves.”

On lack of passing game:“They did a great job covering those guys up. They disrupted some of the timing of Tim [Smith] and Darius [Jennings] particularly. Whether they’re playing press or bump, you need to get off that and give the quarterback a window to throw the ball. We weren’t good enough today to make some of those catches and extend some drives.”

On Keeon Johnson:“Keeon has continued to get better not only as a blocker but as a receiver. One of the common denominators for guys who can catch the ball is hands. He’s got big hands. He’s a big man. He’s got good vertical stretch and he can go horizontal. Again, he’s another player whose best football in front of him. He’s learning as we go along. We’ll keep coaching him and teaching him, and he’s another player who will be really good before he’s done playing.”

Clemson Player Quotes

Sophomore Defensive Tackle D.J. Reader

On the defensive unit confidence:“We feel really good. We have some great guys that all like working together and competing.  We like to go out there and try to out-do each other.  It has been great competition between all of us.”

On facing the option next week:“We are ready for it.  We play really good run defense and it is what we like doing.  We have a lot of sacks, so I think it will be good for us.”

Junior Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins

On QB Tajh Boyd‘s performance:“Tajh controls the offense and that’s what he has been doing.  All the five years he has been here, that is what we expect out of him and he played a great game.  He was doing the right things with check downs and finding the right people.”

On the aggressive passing play calls:“Our coaches have been leaving us on the edge and did a great job calling this game.”

On a strong November finish to the season:“That’s what we plan on doing, keep finishing and staying healthy.  With a bye week, we will get back to film, get healthy and get away from football for a week.  We need to go out with a bang and have fun.  This is what it is about here in November.  You got to show everyone that you’re a top ten team now and not just in September.”

Freshman Safety Jayron Kearse

On the defensive success:“We feel like we let ourselves down by letting them even get on the scoreboard.  We came in thinking shutout and gave them a touchdown.  We got it together and decided that they were not getting in the end zone anymore.”

On his personal improvement his season:“In my first game against NC State, I was not doing the things I needed to do, but now I’m understanding things more and they are putting me in the right spots to make plays and I am understanding the game more.”

Senior Quarterback Tajh Boyd:

On playing in front of friends/family in Virginia:“It was great to come down here and get a victory, that makes it 4-0 against my home state, which is sweet, but at the same time, we wanted to play the type of football that we are capable of playing, and that was the biggest thing.  We have four games left, and we want to play our best football in November.”

On the momentum created by the defense:“The defense does a great job and puts us in situations with great field position to go out there and capitalize.  Hats off to those guys. They have been performing outstandingly and it was great to see the offense get going today.”

On his personal performance:“It was fun, especially trying to peak towards the end of the season.  It was good for the team, a confidence-builder for us.  Our offensive line did an outstanding job today. We ran the ball really well and a lot of guys got a chance to play.  We are going to need everybody in this last stretch of the season.”

On a freshman CB covering WR Sammy Watkins:“You have to know your personnel.  They had a young guy matched up with him and when you have a guy like [Watkins] with space, he’s going to have an opportunity to make plays.  Sammy did an unbelievable job.  You kind of just got to throw your arm up and he will have a chance to get the ball.”

On having fun:“I did, I did.  That has been a big question of late.  Every time I get a chance to hang with these guys, be on the field with the guys and talk to them is great.  It is important to enjoy all of these moments”

On advice to Virginia QB David Watford:“Keep leading. It’s a tough time for him and their team, but at the same time, everything you experience in this life is a learning lesson.  He has to take what he has this year and utilize it in the right way.  And that’s what I expressed to him.  He’s got to go out there and keep leading.  I think they will have a tremendous team. They have a lot of young players right now.  They’ve got to build around him.”