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Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Postgame Quotes

Dec. 28, 2009

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

Head Coach Dabo SwinneyOpening Statement It’s a great win. I’m really proud of our football team, getting themselves ready to play. (We’ve) been through a lot this year and this was a great way to finish it. A very, very good year. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys, especially how they won the game. You know, one of the things we felt like this, if we could rush the ball for more than they could, we’d have a great chance at winning the game and that turned out to be the case. We created a big turnover on defense. We were able to rally back, got down early and rally back to take the lead and never lost the lead again. I can’t say enough about our defense and as far how they played down the stretch, really stood up and got the ball back for the offense. The turnover was huge and offensively, you know, we felt like we could run the football and that was our plan coming in.

I give a lot of credit to our offensive line. All three of our backs ran very well and Jamie Harper was a huge spark for us tonight with almost 10 yards a carry. Obviously C.J. (Spiller) was always special and had another big night running the football. Kyle Parker had a big run at the end of the game. Real proud of all three phases. I thought the special teams were very, very solid. I thought we covered well. We tackled well some very good return guys that they had. I thought that was a key in the game. Its nine wins for us. This was a goal for us to win the Bowl and create momentum for our program. We were able to accomplish that.

As a first year staff, I don’t know, I think maybe Oregon has won more games for a first year staff – new coordinator, new head coach, new d-coordinator – new staff coming together. I can’t say enough about our team as far as what they accomplished- nine wins, winning the Atlantic division – but finishing the Bowl game the way they did creates a lot of momentum for us as we go into the off season moving forward. Our seniors, I’ve got two of them right beside me, I’m so proud of them. We lost three Bowl games in a row. These guys have yet to taste the sweetness of winning a Bowl game. They had the opportunity to play in front of the whole country tonight and I think they put on a good show. They were obviously ready to play, mentally and physically and our seniors were awesome. They were really awesome all night long. It came down to the last play, 4th-and-nine, and we got the stop that we needed to get the ball back and then that last drive, if we could get a couple first downs, knowing they had no timeouts, we could win the game. We gave the ball to 28 and he made a couple of huge runs to move the chains and we were able to just kill the clock.

I’m really proud of this football team. I told the seniors that I really don’t think Clemson will ever be the same after this group of men. They set a great standard for our freshmen, our sophomores, and our juniors. Those guys that one day will be seniors on how you handle yourself, on how you compete, on how you handle adversity, on how you battle and so forth. Hats off to these guys and (I’m) real proud for our fans. This was something they very much deserved.

Senior RB C.J. Spiller(on the team caring about this bowl game and how the team acted differently from previous bowl games) That is the thing about this team. Win or lose, we are going to move on to the next game. I really felt better coming to this game than my freshman year. All of our guys had their helmets on. I felt as seniors, we really wanted to go out with a win and give these younger guys some momentum going into the offseason. It’s huge to win a bowl game. Because these guys now know what it takes to get there. They know what the ingredients it takes to be national champions or ACC champions. That’s one of the things (the seniors) wanted to do. We wanted to set the tempo. We couldn’t have done this without our coaches. They put us in a position to win. Coach (Dabo) Swinney is going to put us in a position to win, but it’s up to us to go out there and perform.

(on scoring for the final time as a Clemson Tiger) I am kind of speechless right now. I am very happy that we won the game. I haven’t won a bowl game since I have been here. Nobody in our locker room besides Rendrick Taylor has won a bowl game. I just wanted to see what it felt like to be in a locker room after you win a championship. That is really what it was because this was a championship game. It’s a great feeling. The offensive line came to me that last drive and said `let’s go, it’s time’. Whenever you have the offensive line come to you and tell you that you know you have to gear it up, run physical and run hard. You know those guys were going to be doing their job up front.

(on winning the game over an SEC opponent) We stressed going into tonight that we not only represent Clemson, but also the ACC. I know it got beaten into us so much that we got tired of hearing it. The way I approached it is that those guys have to put on their cleats the same way I have to put on my cleats. You still have to go out there pass, catch and tackle. We have great teams in this conference. Now, we represented the ACC and we got a win over the SEC that was supposedly the big league.

(on the importance of ending the season with a winning note) Either way would have been good. To battle the way we have battled the entire season even when people were writing us off after starting the season 2-3. We just had to believe in ourselves. We had a great season. This win here gives those younger guys a better offseason. Now, they don’t have to sit around six or seven months trying to get a bad taste out of their mouth. Now, they can enjoy their offseason. They know what it takes and they know they must work hard. You always want to win your last game as a senior. I can tell my daughter and my grandkids that my last game as a senior, I won it. To do it with a coach that everyone says is too young to get it done, it speaks for itself. We are very happy that we are taking that big trophy back to Clemson. You have to give the credit to our defense. I think Ricky (Sapp) might have got that tackle at the end. He showed his speed. That was huge for us. We knew they didn’t have any timeouts left. We were able to run the ball and milk the clock all the way down.

(on if there was a set number of runs for C.J. during the game) We never go into the locker room with me having a number of touches. I am ready to go. When the clock starts, the foot is not a problem for me. I knew that I wanted to go out there and help my team. We never game planned or dictated how many touches I am getting. I am going to go out there regardless.

(on why he returned to Clemson for his senior season) I hope I was a good example for the younger guys. Sooner or later, you have to grow up and make your own decisions. You respect everyone. You hear everyone’s opinion. At the end of the day, you are going to be the one that has to live with the decision you make. My mom loved it. She was glad I made the decision because I graduated. I am the first one from my family to graduate. That’s what I wanted to do. She was in the stands tonight. She traveled nine hours to watch me play in cold weather. My family and I will always love Clemson. It has been a great ride for us.

Senior DE Ricky Sapp(on winning his first bowl game) It feels good. First and foremost, I want to say it has been privilege playing with C.J. (Spiller). Having a coaching change is hard to deal with. We all bought in to what Coach (Dabo) Swinney was trying to do. We lost two hard games and Coach (Dabo) Swinney always told us to move on. To win a championship, it feels good.