CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY QUOTES
On the win:“It is a great win. They’re all great. I appreciate our fans. They showed up early. Hats off to Troy. They were good enough to win today. We made enough mistakes. Our defense played great for 58 minutes, but I’m really disappointed with the finish. Our offense never got into rhythm. I believe there were eight dropped balls. Our field-goal team was excellent and so was our hands team at the end. Those are big plays.”
On Ray-Ray McCloud:“Ray-Ray is still growing. I promise he’ll never do that again (referring to punt return fumble).”
On the end of the game:“Seventeen points by the offense in the fourth quarter was huge. We had three straight scoring drives. Hopefully, we can pick up there next week. Huge momentum heading into next week. But we have to make routine plays. We found a way to win. Hats off to Troy. That’s a football team that fought harder than we did. Our next goal is to win the division.”
On playing young guys:“We got a lot of guys good experience. That will pay dividends. We have to have depth.”
TROY HEAD COACH NEAL BROWN QUOTES
Opening Statement:“Thank you for making the trip first of all…all of our local people. Never ok to lose…that was my message to our football team, and I mean that…I mean that to our fanbase. We have a great respect for coach (Dabo) Swinney and his staff and what they’ve done for this program. I really respect that he’s done it in his own way and differently than everybody else.
“I am proud of all of our coaches and players. I thought our staff did a tremendous job putting our guys into position in all three phases. They are each individual unit that we talk about. I am really proud of them.
“Our players competed and fought all the way to the very end. We played the No. 2 team in the country and gave them everything they wanted. We didn’t play our best in any phase, offensively, defensively or special teams. We did not play our best.
“With 0:44 to go, it was up in the air with an onside kick, so that is what our program wants to be. We built this team when we went Division I on having the mantra, ‘We will go anywhere and compete, down to the very end.’ We did that today.
“Is our program back? I don’t know. What I challenge our kids with is, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Is this going to be a game that we rally on for the future or is this just going to be a close loss. It’s not ok to lose. But if our kids will continue to get better, we have the chance to be a really good football team down the stretch. I would like to see how it would have gone if those fumbles had been looked at, too.”
On rallying the team:“Our kids…they compete all the time. We made a point over the last 18, 19 months of putting our guys in some challenging situations in the offseason and at practice, just to see how they would react. They didn’t blink and I never expected them to. We played some of our best offensive football there in the fourth quarter that we played all day.”
On the no-fumble call in the fourth quarter:“It was big. The communication wasn’t great. They said the forward progress was stopped and I thought the crew did a nice job. Let me say this, I thought the ACC crew did a nice job. But there were two fumbles that I felt were fumbles, but both of them were blown dead. They are not reviewable. I called a timeout to get them looked at, but they said forward progress was stopped. It could’ve been a turning point.
CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES – OFFENSE
DESHAUN WATSON, QB
On if not being able to connect on the deep ball is frustrating:“It happens, but you have to learn from it and continue to do what we do.”
On how he responds to the drops:“I tell them to move on to the next play. We all have mistakes and we all miss some opportunities, but just move on to the next play. It happens so many times, it is football, it is life, no one is perfect.”
RAY-RAY McCLOUD, WR
General thoughts on the punt return:“I was just playing fast, got excited and let the ball go before scoring the touchdown and didn’t finish the play. Coach (Dabo) Swinney is always getting on me about finishing the play.”
On the coaches having him back at punt return the next time and the confidence that shows they have in him:“Yes, that does show the coaches have confidence in me. It was a mistake, it happens to the best of us and I came back out and put it behind me.”
On if he takes confidence out of this game or doubt due to the fumble:“You are going to leave this game thinking about that play, but when next week comes, that will just be a mistake that I made and for sure won’t make again, but it is on to the next game.”
HUNTER RENFROW, WR
On if he would like to catch an easy touchdown next game:“We will take them however we can get them.”
On his extension abilities:“Well, most people are taller and able to catch them normal.”
On the offense’s early struggles:“Yes, it is the little things, the routine plays. I know I had a dropped pass, so when we start making the routine plays, we will get in rhythm and the big plays will come. We just have to practice like it is the game and we will continue to improve.”
CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES – DEFENSE
CORDREA TANKERSLEY, CB
What about Troy surprised you guys today?“They threw a lot of things we hadn’t seen during film. To say we didn’t see a lot it, we played it well. It’s nothing on them. They fought hard. It wasn’t really a surprise. We knew that they were a good team when we approached them on film.”
On defense in general:“I think we played pretty well. We still have to clean up a lot of things, a lot of technical stuff, but I thought we did pretty well. We just wanted to help our offense out. They struggled today, but it’s a three-way corner…special teams, offense and defense.”
CHRISTIAN WILKINS, DT
On his first career touchdown:“After seeing ‘Jumbo” package last week, I’m sure everyone was expecting us to run. Me and Dexter (Lawrence) busted a big hole for Wayne and it was right there. It was wide open. It was clear that the defense thought that as well. They really had their hedge guys coming and I was able to sneak out and make a play. Deshaun (Watson) threw a nice, easy, catchable ball, and I was able to make the catch.”
On defense in general:“Like I was saying earlier, we still have to finish the game. We played a complete three and half quarters, but we have to play a complete game. We let two touchdowns late. We can do that if we want to be a great defense. We’ll have to make those adjustments and finish each time.”
JALEN WILLIAMS, LB
On his interception:“It was a designed play. I popped off, read the quarterback, tipped the ball and I made a play.”
On the tough win:“At the end of the day, that’s the ultimate goal…to get the ‘W’.”
What does three interceptions do for a defense?“It gives us confidence. It gives us momentum. We catch picks and picks, we want more.
On the defense:“We always try to go out and get a shutout. That’s always our mindset. We’re trying to stop everything they do. For us to give up those touchdowns that we did, we are going to get back in here tomorrow, correct it, put this game to bed and get ready for SC State next week.”
March 14, 2019