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Clemson vs. Virginia Tech Postgame Quotes

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney

On today’s defensive performance:“They had a great performance.  From the sidelines, I believe it was their best game of the season.  We struggled with some missed tackles, but they did really well at getting turnovers, including that pick 6.

“They had some big stops in the second half.  They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which caused some hesitancy on his part and forced him to throw off target.”

On the decision to start Spencer Shuey at middle linebacker:“We played him based on his performance against Georgia Tech and believe he earned the starting position.”

On the performance of his offense:“There were some missed plays…and it was like we were losing as many yards as we gained.  Virginia Tech tried to challenge us, but we were able to finish those plays in the second half.  Any time you score that many points against Virginia Tech, you had a good day. Now we just have to prepare for the quick turnaround against Wake Forest.”

On Andre Ellington‘s drive as a runner:“He doesn’t lose a lot of yards, and it seems like he is always moving.”

On the stadium atmosphere and Military Appreciation Day:“What a privilege it was to be part of a day like this.  It’s special to experience it with Daniel Rodriguez.  His presence has helped the team, and he never forces his leadership.  It has really made the team appreciate our military and realize that there are a lot more problems in the world than our third down conversion rate.

“Rodriguez’s career started with a video and hard work ethic.  I can’t imagine what is going through his head comparing where he was three years ago to where he was today.  It was a special day and I was proud to be an observer. The Valley has been coming alive and I know Daniel felt that today.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer

Overall Thoughts:“Our guys battled hard. We played a very good football team today. I think in the end, it gets down to about four, five, six plays-a couple that we didn’t make and a couple that they got points off of or got field position off of. The whole third quarter, we just needed to pick up some first downs and play on our side of the field. The effort was great all the way around. We played hard. It came down to about four, five, six plays. Those plays get the momentum going and the whole game changes a little bit.”

On specifically what plays he was referring to:“Well, I think they hit a short punt there and the ball hits us and they get field position on that. I think the last interception there, that didn’t help the situation. (The fourth-down stop) was a big one too. We had a chance there to really get up by a couple of touchdowns, and that makes it a different game. But give them credit. They did a nice job.”

On his offense’s inability to take advantage of opportunities:“Field position got us a little bit. To beat Clemson, you have to keep the ball and get some first downs and get some points out of your possessions. Right there, field position hurt us, but we just needed to make a couple of plays when they were there for the taking.”

On a pair of third-quarter calls that seemed to go against his team:“That’s part of the game. That’s what they called. That’s what we have to live with.”

On how his team had success running the ball on Clemson:“I think we had some good plays against them, and then they came back and did some good things. I know they feel like the week off helped them as far as getting the defense adjusted a little bit. They made some good plays against us.”

Clemson Player Quotes

Safety Jonathan MeeksOn today’s performance:“I just had good opportunities. It was a blessing. Like I said, someone tipped the ball on the second (interception). I was able to get a good break on it and take it to the house.” 

How helpful was the pressure up front?“That was big. Secondary and the defensive line go hand and hand. They are our best friends. We have good coverage and they get sacks, and when they get pressure we get interceptions.”

How did the defense help the offense and how will this carry into next week?“We have been growing up as a defense as a whole. Those guys had our back all season. We had their backs today. It is a team win. It is a quick turnaround to next Thursday, so we have to put this one behind us right now and turn it over to Wake Forest.”

Linebacker Spencer ShueyOn earning the start:“I have prepared for the last two weeks. I got a head start on preparing for Virginia Tech. I was confident with our scheme going into the game and was able to make some plays.”

On big plays the last two games:“It is nice. Preparing and working hard each week has been paying off.”

On increased pressure by the defensive line:“Our d-line had to dominate. Obviously the secondary had to stay in their coverage. Once that happened, they started to panic, started to feel the pocket starting to close in. When he was able to get out of the pocket, that is when I was able to make plays.”

Wide Receiver Daniel RodriguezOn carrying the American flag down the Hill:“It was just a lot of emotion. It was a great honor to be able to do that for Clemson and see the reaction out of the crowd.”

What did you tell your teammates before the game?“I am not a really big talker. I just let them know we are a family and this game is just like any other game when we dress up. I left a family in the military and suited up with a new family here at Clemson. It meant the world to me. The respect and the fight we go through every day is something to see. I told them I just wanted to play as a family just like we do every other day. It meant something to me, and I just wanted to tell them that I am appreciative of what they do and how they want to thank me for my service.”