Wofford Head Coach Mike Ayers
“Offensively we really struggled. It was not that complicated, we just didn’t do a good job of adjusting to it. I thought our defense did a great job for as many snaps as they played. I thought our kicking game did a good job. But you can’t struggle like that offensively. You can’t have one portion of your team play 35 snaps and the other one play 85 snaps.”
“We were hunting and pecking for plays. We didn’t really have a whole lot of continuity. Clemson did a nice job on the defensive front, which created problems for us. Hats off to those guys. That’s the first time we’ve played coach Venables and you never know what you’re going to get. You’ve got to prepare for everything and they did a nice job.”
On what the Terriers can use from this game going forward:
“We battled against a team that’s ranked 12th in the country. Their skill set is pretty good and they’re a football team that’s going to be something to reckon with this season. I think our kids showed some toughness out there. I told the team the only guy I’m disappointed in is myself. I felt like I let them down as far as not getting them ready to play. I promised them I would do a better job getting them prepared going forward.”
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney
“First, I want to thank the fans. I have never seen the traffic backed up to the Pendleton Square, ever. The environment was just incredible for us today, and it gave me a great opportunity to talk to our team in pregame about ‘best is the standard.’ They’re not here to see the other team play, they’re here to see the Tigers, and I just appreciate that support. The energy was awesome and it was a really clean game.
“Our first group from both sides were dominant from the first play, and that’s what we should do. There were not a lot of first-game mistakes. We played a lot of people and we’re able to get a bunch of guys some much-needed experience so we can build on it and keep improving.
“Again, we achieved our goal, which was to get to 1-0. Now we’ll move up a notch to prepare for a tough Appalachian State team.”
On defensive performance:
“Last time we played these guys (in 2011), we know what type of game that was. Wofford, with this group, averaged 297 rushing yards a game last season. To hold them to 123 yards on 44 carries is great preparation and guys knowing what they’re doing, and there’s no question it starts with that first group.
“And that first group can play. It’s a very experienced group. We got some depth inside and we’re more experienced in the secondary, and those guys in the secondary did a great job today. I’m really proud of the defense today. We played a lot of true freshmen and redshirt freshmen, and they’ll be better next week because of it.
True freshmen impact:
“We came right out of the gate, starting with our left tackle (Mitch Hyatt), who did a great job today. Ray Ray McCloud and Deon (Cain) and Jake (Fruhmorgen) got in there. You look over and see Christian Wilkins, Albert Huggins and Jalen Williams.
“You saw a bunch of those guys all over the field. Garrett Williams got his first action today, (Greg) Huegel got out there. I was happy that his first kick was an extra point to check that off and get it behind him. I don’t care what type of player you are, until you experience this environment a little bit it can be a really difficult to prepare for. And that was the best part of the day.”
Clemson Placekicker Greg Huegel
On handling the first-game experience and focus:
“Ammon (Lakip) actually helped out a lot. He talked me through it and gave me some pointers. Today, my main focus was sticking to the process. I’ve gone out, every single day, and kicked thousands of balls. Coach tells us, ‘Don’t listen to the voices inside of your head…talk to yourself.’ So, I tried to do that and I feel like that helped out a lot as well.”
On what it was like kicking in Death Valley after coming in to the program as a walk-on:
“It was great. You can’t really describe the feeling, which is kind of self-explanatory in itself, but I guess it holds true that hard work really does pay off.”
Elaborating on the in-game experience:
“Today was great. Having the chance to get six extra points under my belt…and I didn’t miss any…was really gratifying. Jim Brown had great snaps. I got great holds from Seth Ryan. The offensive line blocked great. I couldn’t ask for more from our guys.”
Mindset during preparation given Lakip’s suspension:
“My mindset was to not really worry about the things going on around me because I cannot act on things that don’t involve me or are not in my control. I just do what I can do best.”
Clemson Running Back Zac Brooks
Overall thoughts on his return to the field after missing the 2014 season due to injury:
“It was fun. I had a great time preparing and it felt good to get everything out. I had a long camp…a long, successful camp…and I feel like everything, all that hard work, is starting to pay. It feels so good to get that first one off your back.
“It feels great. It’s been so long. It felt like a great relief. I’m back. Now, I just have to keep on rolling, continue to stay healthy and take care of my body.”
On the games to come after having a successful opener:
“Every game is the same. You go into the game with the same preparation, and for us that mindset is, ‘the season starts tomorrow.’ Every game, you have the same excitement, so it is fun to get ready for the next one.”
Clemson Offensive Tackle Mitch Hyatt
Favorite part of his first-game experience:
“Well, it’s funny. Running down the Hill was probably the hardest part…trying not to fall. The hardest part for me was knowing where everyone goes, but once I got out there, I started to get going.”
“It was my first game. There is definitely more technical stuff I have to work on and in-game stuff, but getting out there, getting to see how everything plays out and getting settled was definitely good.
On pressure to protect Deshaun Watson:
“There were definitely some questions coming into the game of whether or not I can protect Deshaun, but the older guys by my side helped me out and helped me along with how to progress in the game. It definitely helps playing alongside Eric Mac Lain and having him next to me. He definitely helps me along if I don’t hear so well, and today he did that for me.”
Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson
On preparation going into the game:
“The whole time, coaches were telling us to ‘play our best’ and telling me to run the team. I played around with them, but we wanted to come out and show that the pressure isn’t going to get to us and wanted to show the Clemson Tigers are going to have a special 2015 season.”
What it felt like being out there again (after an injury):
“I felt great. I was out there playing. It felt good to be in the game and cut loose and have fun.”
How the offense contributed:
“It was great. That’s how we want it to be in the running game and in the passing game, and I think that’s what we did. I think 20 guys touched the ball today, so it was great to see those guys get involved, compete and that’s what we want…to get the whole offense involved and get tries and chances to make plays.”
January 15, 2019
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