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Clemson vs. Auburn Postgame Quotes

Sept. 17, 2011

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Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

Overall thoughts: “All the glory goes to God. He has a funny sense of humor. It’s only fitting that an Alabama grad would be in charge of the team that ended the winning streak. It’s amazing how this team has come together and these guys believe. We don’t quit. Tajh Boyd is a guy that has really taken ownership in this team. Our guys believe in him. He noticed the matchup issues in the secondary in the first half and Tajh got the ball where it needed to be. I couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”

On the comeback win: “This is the same thing we’ve done in the first two games. We were down at halftime against Troy, too, but we kept playing. There was no panic on our sidelines. We really moved the ball. We wanted to run the ball in the first half, but when the run wasn’t there, it gave us opportunities to throw, which opened up the run in the second half. We had the ball for the final nine minutes in the fourth quarter. That’s dominant. We knew Auburn was going to be a tough out. We had the Sun Belt Champions, then the Southern Conference Champions, and then the National Champions and we’re 3-0. Now we have to get ready for the ACC Atlantic Division Champions to come in next week.”

On play of offensive line: “They were ready. Robbie Caldwell did a great job getting them ready. They executed. An offense that has 640 yards, that’s incredible. That starts with the guys up front. They finished the game. I told our guys that our fronts on both sides were going to be an advantage for us, and they were.”

On play of freshmen: “Guys have to step up. You have to be ready when your number is called. Guys like Brandon Thomas, Mike Bellamy, and Charone Peake were critical in this win. D.J. Howard was an Auburn commit and it was really fitting that he was our leading rusher. He was ready. So many guys made plays today.”

On atmosphere of Death Valley: “The Valley was rocking. I can’t thank our fans enough. We need to play well every week to give them something to cheer about. There’s no better place in college football than Death Valley, SC. I told our guys that they could either be victim number 18 or the guys who broke the streak. There’s no better place to kill a winning streak than Clemson, SC. I’m proud of everyone. Our guys believe. We’re 3-0 and we have to stay focused. It’s important how we handle success. We have to remember that it was an all in commitment that got us here.”

Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizik

Overall Thoughts: “Obviously, we’re extremely disappointed in our performance today, but I have to start out by giving a lot of credit to Clemson. I feel like they outplayed us pretty much from the second quarter all the way through the rest of the football game. They have good players and good coaches, and they have a really good football team. My hat’s off to them and their ability to execute pretty much all day long. We had a fast start to the game and couldn’t really sustain much after that.

“I felt like from the second quarter on, overall as a football team, we were not productive. We were not making plays when we had opportunities to do so. It’s very glaring that defensively, we have a lot of work to do.

“It’s very glaring that offensively, we can’t turn the ball over going into the red zone and we have to sustain some more drives. Time of possession is becoming an issue with our team, certainly with the number of plays we’re playing defensively. That’s really a combination of both the inability to convert on third downs for ourselves and the inability to get off the field on third downs defensively.

“The first quarter is probably the best that we’ve played. After the end of the second quarter, I felt like we were a very below average football team. We got beat by a good team today. We have a locker room full of young men that are very disappointed, but I fully expect us to bounce back and work this week to be a better football team. We certainly have a lot of room for improvement.”

On what changed for his team after the first quarter: “As the game wore on, I thought tackling became an issue for our defense. As the game wore on, I thought we were in position to make plays when we went up for the ball and they went up for the ball, and we didn’t come up with the football. We had opportunities on third downs. We had opportunities to stop them for a loss or at least for no gain, and they out-executed us. It was all-around an extremely disappointing performance defensively, and at many times offensively it was the same.”

On bouncing back from a loss: “There are no options on that. They’re going to handle it like men, and they’re going to go out tomorrow and practice again for the next game.

They are going to have short memories and learn from what we didn’t do well, which is a lot of learning because we didn’t do a lot well. I fully expect them to be there tomorrow ready to go and ready to practice and figure out a way to get better. That’s not an option.”

Clemson Player Quotes

Center Dalton Freeman “Today feels pretty good. We still have a lot of improving to do. We finally got more prepared and felt a little more confident coming into the game. We never stopped believing. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter ballgame. We knew it was going to be a dog fight. We kept going and we knew the defense was going to stop them.”

On Tajh Boyd: “Tajh is great. It took him a couple of series to calm down. That was the biggest stage he’s ever played on. Once he got calmed down, he was lights out.”

On better play: “We felt much more confident this week and much better prepared. We really took it personally when people said we were soft. We had a great week of practice and really got better prepared. This is a very mature group. For a young guy like Brandon Thomas to step up and gel with us, that was a big thing for us.”

Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins “I want to thank our coaches for giving me a chance to play and they’ve been so supportive. I felt great. I wasn’t really thinking about records, I was just focusing on beating Auburn. I kept thinking `We have to beat them.’ I wasn’t thinking about touchdowns, I wasn’t thinking about yards, I was just thinking “we have to beat Auburn.”

On efficiency: “Our coaches called the right plays. They put us in position to win. They put us in position to make the right plays. They make us work hard in practice Monday-Friday, but on Saturdays it’s on us to make the plays and win the game.”

On making plays: “The offense kind of disappeared for a while. We all had to step up and make the big `spark’ plays to get us going again. We really had to stick up for the defense. The defense came in and stuck up for us when we weren’t making plays, and we had to step up and stick up for them.”

Quarterback Tajh Boyd “Sammy (Watkins) and Dwayne (Allen) both had great days. We’ve got a lot of young guys and we keep improving and that’s encouraging. My comfort level with those guys is extremely high.”

“Coming into the season, our goal was to run 80 plays per game. We ran 92 today, which is where we want to be. We just have to keep working hard.”