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Clemson vs. Virginia Postgame Quotes

Nov. 21, 2009

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  Photo Gallery 1  |  Photo Gallery 2  |  Photo Gallery 3 

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

Overall Thoughts: “I thank God for allowing me to be here with this great program, this great staff, these great players, and this great fan base. So many people deserve this win. These guys played great, and played through adversity to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division, now let’s go to Tampa.”

On the play of his seniors: “It was like a basketball game, when I subbed the guys out at the end of the game. I had to congratulate them for their efforts not just for today, but also for the past four years. They gave me a #40 jersey for my birthday, and they all signed it before the game. They are really a great group of guys. Jacoby (Ford) had a career-high in all-purpose yards today, and Kavell (Conner) came out and made 15 tackles. All of the seniors gave great effort today. I’m so proud of these guys.”

On the play of quarterback Kyle Parker: “He keeps getting better and better. He is efficient and continues to make plays. He was 19 for 26 with 234 passing yards. He is growing as a player, and has continued to make smarter plays.”

On the team’s second half adjustments: “We didn’t play smart in the first half. We weren’t disciplined with our eyes. And they had a lot of trick plays in the first half. Our staff made great adjustments at halftime, and we challenged then in the second half. This team never gave up, and they came out in the second half to win this game.”

On Clemson’s first championship game appearance: “The last championship team I’ve been on was in 1999, so I know how to prepare this team and get them ready for it. Our first goal was to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division, and we did that. Our next goal is to win a state championship against South Carolina next weekend. Our third goal is to win the ACC Championship game. Our fourth goal is to win a Bowl game. We’re happy today, but we’re not done yet. We have a lot of football left to play, so we’re going back to work this week.”

Virginia Head Coach Al Groh

Overall Thoughts: “Well, congratulations to Clemson for winning their division. That is one of the better looking teams we have seen in quite some time. They come at you from all directions. The pressure is on every play. We stood up to it well throughout, but there is just a lot of talent out there and some of those playmakers made plays that made the difference in the game. I am very pleased with the effort the players put in the preparation for it, and some guys stepped up and made plays today. Unfortunately we had some mistakes against a team that can now be called championship-caliber, having won their division. Those mistakes created some field position issues that ultimately swung the scales.”

On success of the wildcat formation in the first half prior to injuries: “That removed the facet of our operation that had been successful for us. I am sure Clemson would have made adjustments to challenge it. Those things happen in games, I am sure Clemson had a guy that was unable to finish the game, too.”

On Clemson’s defensive adjustments in the second half: “I thought that the most significant thing in all of these schemes is all runners look the same when there is no huddle, but they did a better job with the screen and controlling the line of scrimmage. Then the absence of the one scheme that had been successful for us was an issue.”

On his defense in the second half: “I would say it was about the same. We had some difficult field position situations in the first half. The first two possessions for Clemson started inside the 50-yard line. Then we had a mishandled punt down there and the turnover at the end of the half. Had we done a better job with the ball we probably would have had a better chance at the end.”

On the team’s feeling at halftime: “Good. Especially our attitude at that point, there was a lot to feel good and positive about. Certainly there were some plays that we would have liked to have done better on, but I am sure the other side felt the same way.”

On Clemson’s six sacks in the fourth quarter: “They have good pass rushers. They have four good pass rushers and they just won.”

On the final possession of first half: “We wanted to move the ball down the field and try to get into scoring territory and try to get into the end zone.” 

Clemson Player Quotes

Quarterback Kyle Parker: “It’s an awesome feeling. The biggest thing is that this team didn’t give up. We kept working hard, and when people didn’t believe, we still believed in ourselves. It’s an extremely good feeling. Our fans deserved to see a win today. They put a lot into it. We have some great fans out there watching us. We needed to give them the satisfaction of watching us win the Atlantic Division.”

Tight End Michael Palmer: “We’ve been hearing about emotional letdowns for seven straight weeks. That’s not something we’re concerned about at all. I think our team will come out focused and ready for South Carolina.”

Offensive Guard Thomas Austin: “We said we wanted to win it outright. We didn’t want it to come to a tiebreaker. That’s what championship teams do. So for us it wasn’t a factor at all. You can’t let it change your motivation. You want to win no matter what. We want to win next week against South Carolina because that’s the game, and we only have 12 regular season games on the schedule.”

Linebacker Brandon Maye: “In the second half, we just calmed down, went out, and executed the game plan. We did what Coach Steele asked of us. I think everybody did a good job of that. Being able to go to Tampa and get another shot at the option offense, it’s a great feeling.”

Safety DeAndre McDaniel: “We told the seniors we were going to win the game for them before the game started. The crowd had our adrenaline pumping, and it felt really good. We’ve wanted this rematch all year. Now we have our shot.”

Running Back C.J. Spiller: “I’m sure a lot of people still probably thought we would have a letdown. But the good thing about this team is that we never worry about what people say about our team. We just worry about what we can control. The main thing for us is to have a good week of preparation and go out and prove everyone wrong.”