Dec. 6, 2007
Chick-fil-A Bowl President Gary Stokan: “Why Clemson?
“Obviously being ranked top 15 in the BCS, and second in the ACC, Clemson brings a strong resume to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. They’ve played seven bowl teams and won five of their last six games. Two of their three losses were to top-15 BCS bowl teams. Obviously, with winning five of the last six, it is always positive when you’re in a bowl to have a team really playing well towards the end of their season.
“Also, the big win against their arch-rival, South Carolina on the road in the last seconds really gets your fans excited as well. So, we are real excited to have the opportunity to host Clemson.
“With regards to the Auburn match-up, they are two similar teams with two top defenses. Both coaches are named Tommy and both teams are the Tigers. There are 33 players from Georgia that will be playing in this game and 14 of those are starters.
“This bowl is the eighth-highest payout. We will pay $5.83-million to the two schools in total. We are in the 40th year. This is our 11th-straight sellout, which only trails the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl in continuous sellouts.”
Terry Don Phillips on accepting the Chick-fil-A Bowl’s invitation: “I would just like to say how grateful we are to have the opportunity to return to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and on behalf of President (Jim) Barker and our board of trustees and our tremendous fans and supporters, I accept this on behalf of Clemson University. We’re thrilled to come. I would like to congratulate Coach (Tommy) Bowden and our team for what they did on the field to give us this opportunity.”
Tommy Bowden on playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl: “We are very excited about our invitation to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The bowl puts on a first-class operation. I know our players are excited as well as the coaches and families. We’re excited about coming. We have had a lot of players from Georgia over the years and on this team, so I know it is very special to them as well.
Tommy Bowden on importance of winning the bowl game: “When I talked to my team on Monday after the South Carolina game, it was one of the things we brought up …the fact of a potential 10-win season with most of our team returning. If you want a chance to jump on the radar and set a standard and try to maintain and exceed the standard, then I think winning is important. It’s the last signature that this team puts out to the public. So, I think that is important, but we have the same guys returning, regardless if we win or lose. But again, it is always an extra boost from the mental standpoint if we head into winter conditioning with a win. We would like to win the game and go into the season highly ranked.”
Tommy Bowden on how the Clemson program has changed since its last Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance: “One of biggest things is what our administration has done with the facilities. We’ve elevated our talent level. Those are probably the two-biggest changes. I think those two areas are related. Our talent level began to increase as our facilities improved.”
Tommy Bowden on playing against Auburn: “Having some familiarity with Auburn and the SEC, there is going to be a tremendous passion by their fans and ours. Not only is there going to be a great match-up on the field, it’s going to be a great match-up in the stands. I think the fans will elevate the intensity of the game and the emotions of the players just to see the electricity. Auburn is a school just like Clemson. It has a tremendous history like we do.
Tommy Bowden on Auburn: “They have good players across the board. I know if you look at them defensively, they’re statistics are a little higher nationally ranked than their offense. They are ranked in the top 10 in the nation in many defensive categories so it will be a big challenge for our offense.
“But, their quarterback is a three-year starter. You can’t rattle him or shake him. So, you have a very dependable quarterback surrounded by good skill players. They have a young offensive line that is very talented. The kicking game and special teams has always been solid. “
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