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Clemson vs. North Carolina Postgame Quotes

Oct. 22, 2011

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Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

Overall thoughts: “I’m so proud of our guys. North Carolina is a really good team. We knew this was going to be a tough challenge for us. They have a lot of NFL-type guys on their team. We missed a lot of first half opportunities.

“Defensively, we didn’t do a great job defending the double move. But, this is a four-quarter game. We were good defensively on third down the whole game. We scored 35 points in the third quarter; that was great to see. We had a lot of guys step up and make some big plays. If Kourtnei Brown is going to play like this every time he’s a captain, I should make him a captain every week. He had a great game. The second team wasn’t great today. We gave up some cheap points at the end that will make a defensive coordinator pull his hair out. Overall, today was a great day and now we have to turn our focus to Georgia Tech.”

On today’s offense: “Our plan was to spread it around today, and we did that. North Carolina has a good defensive front. We knew we were going to have to throw against them and win the outside matchups. We missed some big plays in the first half, but I’m proud of our wide receivers and Dwayne Allen. Tajh [Boyd] was fantastic. To throw a touchdown to five different guys – that’s hard to do. Sammy [Watkins] had a good day today. [Andre] Ellington got banged up a little but he’ll be ok. That gave D.J. Howard and Mike Bellamy a chance to play. We were bad on first down early, but that was something we made a good change on during halftime. We took care of the ball today. A lot of guys got to play and that gives us a lot of guys to coach.”

On focus: “We’ve been working for two years to develop a mentality to handle adversity and success. There have only been four 8-0 teams in the history of Clemson football. It’s a special time to be a Clemson Tiger. We have to learn from this tape and just keep doing what we do. We have to empty the tank this week in practice and then leave it all on the field at Georgia Tech.”

On getting to the quarterback: “We kept getting close to [Bryn] Renner today and then there were some big hits as soon as guys caught the ball that ended up being pass breakups. What was disappointing for us was not defending the double move. We have a lot of improving to do on the back end.”

On preparation: “We have to do what we do. We don’t even get to half of our call sheet. We respond to the defense and get in a rhythm and just go. We like to spread it around. We had a lot of guys step up today and we can learn a lot from this film. We got to play a lot of the second string guys after we got up, which was good to see. We’re going to be coaching the backups hard this week. They have to improve. Now, we’re just going to practice hard this week and turn our attention to Georgia Tech.”

North Carolina Head Coach Everett Withers

Overall Thoughts: “I’ve seen it all in coaching. I thought we came out with a great mindset. We tried to play as hard as we could. Turnovers kill you. They take momentum away from you, they take energy away from you, they take energy out of you, they take emotion out of you. It kills you.”

On the continued prevalence of turnovers: “It’s very disappointing. Obviously I haven’t done a good enough job of stressing that in practice. I have to go back and try to stress it even more.”

On his message to the team: “We just got together in there, and I told them we had 35 days left in the regular season and asked them how we’re going to act on these next 35 days. We talked about it yesterday when we had 36 days, and we talked about it the day before that when we had 37 days. We talk about one day at a time.”

On T.J. Thorpe’s 100-yard kick return: “We hope everybody responds in that fashion when they get pulled. If there’s competition and you don’t respond, I believe there’s an issue. Evidently, he responded. Hopefully, he will be a better returner for it now in the future.”

On the attacking nature of his team’s passing game: “We felt like we had a chance against those safeties. We thought that might be one of the weaker parts of their football team.”

On the team’s third down woes: “When you fumble the ball or you turn it over, a lot of times you don’t even get to third down. This team is a very good pass rushing team, so if you get behind and you have to catch up by throwing it, they are going to rush the passer well. That’s hard in itself. That’s what we try to do. We want to be ahead so we can rush the passer. If you don’t get the game into manageable situations, they’re going to rush the passer and make it really hard for you.”

Clemson Player Quotes

Defensive End Kourtnei Brown

Overall thoughts: “I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I was playing against my home team, I was a team captain, scored two touchdowns and to get the win; I couldn’t ask for more.”

On the pressure of being undefeated: “I don’t think it’s necessarily pressure but the intensity does go up with every win. Everybody wants it so badly and we are coming together as a team to do our job and win.”

On his first interception: “When the quarterback went back I realized that the running back was going back to receive the pass. I was able to breakdown the play and make the interception.”

Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins

On being compared to the ’81 team: “Honestly some people might compare us to that team but I don’t because we are a different team than them. I wasn’t even born back then so I didn’t have the chance to watch them but we don’t want to just live up to them, we want to be better than them.”

On the diverse offense and being unselfish: “You have to be very unselfish and Coach made a point of that coming into this season. There were a lot of highly recruited guys that weren’t getting the playing time that they wanted but we are winning and so our success as a team is speaking for itself. I think the guys on this team realized, being selfish only hurts them.”

Wide Receiver Sammy Watkins

Overall thoughts: “I think we came out for this game prepared and ready to win.”

On diverse offense: “[Having a diverse offense] is a great thing. The defense didn’t know who to guard.”

On being unbeatable: “I don’t think we are unbeatable. Anyone can beat us, we just have to come out and play as hard as we can.”

Quarterback Tajh Boyd

On the third quarter: “We were just given so many opportunities and were able to execute. I think that showed everyone what kind of offense we are capable of and the kind of team we can become.”

On tying two records today: “I didn’t know until after the game but those are the kinds of things that you try and do every week. It’s not about breaking records, but playing hard every week. We have to prepare for each week and each game knowing there is an opportunity to win it but there is also an opportunity to lose it.”