ACC Championship postgame press conference
COACH SWINNEY: Great ballgame, I'm sure, to watch. I want
to congratulate Georgia Tech and Coach Johnson, his staff, his players.
They did a super job in making the plays they needed to make to win
the game. They made one more play than we did. You know,
we've just got to give them all the credit.
a painful experience. Locker room is hurting. Somewhere
along the line we'll grow from this painful experience and get better
from it. You know, I believe that there's a lot to learn in the
good and the bad, and obviously this is very disappointing. But
if we use it the right way, when you hit the off-season and you get going,
we've got a lot of juniors and sophomores and freshmen on this team,
and hopefully they'll understand what it's all about. We don't
have anybody on our team that's been here, and hopefully they'll understand
that this is what it's all about.
proud of my guys. There were ten teams at home today watching,
and there were two champions playing for one ring, and again, unfortunately
they made one more play than we did. I didn't see any quitters
on the field all night. We just kind of ran out of time.
game in a row we get a holding call on the last drive against Georgia
Tech, so it's something I'll have to see if we can figure out what not
to do. I don't know if there was a holding call the whole game.
again, congratulations to Georgia Tech. I want to congratulate
C.J. He left it all on the field; that's all you can ask.
He left everything he had on the field. We lost the game, and
I think he still made MVP, so we're really proud of him. I thought
there were some good things in the game, but obviously we didn't play
well enough to win.
that, I'll take some questions.
C.J., can you just talk about what it's like to have such a performance
like that and come up just a little short?
SPILLER: First of all, just got to give honor to God. Without
him none of this would have been possible for our team. A lot
of people had us written off, not even to be in this position, but we
stayed together and I want to give the credit to my offensive guys.
Those guys did a great job of covering them up, wide receivers did a
great job downfield blocking, and they just made my job a lot easier.
You never want to come up short when you play in these championship
games, but like coach said, them guys just made the extra play they
needed to make to win.
Dabo, it seemed like the game really came down to your inability to
stop them. Is that kind of the way you saw it?
SWINNEY: Yep, they didn't really stop us either. Again,
we ran out of time. Certainly when you can't stop them, it's hard
to win. They made some critical plays, 4th down, 3rd down, I don't
know what they were on 3rd down, but it had to be unbelievable, 11 of
18. Hard to win. Hard to win. Time of possession had
to be way out of whack. Again, I wouldn't say they stopped us.
It was a shootout, but unfortunately we just couldn't get the ball enough.
then we had a couple of turnovers on offense that allowed them to get
a couple extra possessions in there. But that certainly was the
No punts in the whole game. Did you expect it to be a shootout
when you started?
SWINNEY: Well, I knew it wasn't going to be 9 to 6 like somebody
had suggested to me earlier. I knew it wasn't going to be that.
But I'm surprised there wasn't any punts. We felt confident going
into the game that we could move the ball. Also felt confident
that we would create some stops. But again, they did a super job.
They did a great job of just kind of moving the chains and grinding
it out and working the clock.
Coach, the game, as I look back on it now, and it's not far over, it
certainly mirrors the season itself. Your kids were awfully resilient
tonight, there was no give in them. Are you comfortable, C.J.,
with the way that you've left this program? I know you still have
one football game left with Clemson, but it certainly seems as though
you've left Clemson better than you found it?
SPILLER: Without a doubt. I'm very glad I came back.
It's what I wanted to be at, championship game, graduate, be doing that.
So hopefully the other guys can see, even recruits, you come to Clemson,
it's not no layoff. You're going to compete for championships
year in and year out. You're going to have the opportunity to
even graduate, which is our main priority. Very glad that I came
back to play with my teammates. They taught me a lot this whole
season about never giving up, just sticking there and gut it out.
What was your mindset being down 13 points in the fourth quarter, seemed
like you kind of personally took the team on your back and made several
SPILLER: Like I say, you've got to go back to the offensive line.
Them guys did a great job early establishing the run, so I kind of got
comfortable seeing how the defense was playing. They was over,
pursuing, I was able to get a lot of cutbacks, and like I said, can't
give no more credit. They just did a great job tonight of making
the extra play.
Some strange things could happen in this Bowl selection process.
Where do you feel like you guys deserve to be as runner-up of the ACC
SWINNEY: Well, I don't get any say in it. But we're the
runner-up in this conference. We had the second best record in
the league, 6 and 2 in our league. You know, I would hope that
we would -- there's a pecking order, and I would certainly hope that we
would be where we're supposed to be. But that's a whole 'nother
On Dwyer's last touchdown, was that an open the door, let him in to
score because they were looking at a sure field goal so you could get
the ball back with one more shot offensively?
SWINNEY: No, we didn't want them to score. We wanted to
block the field goal and win the game. That's what we wanted to
do. We never, ever thought we were going to lose the game.
Our kids never thought it, and we kept playing. I thought we were
going to win the game 34-33. They went right down the field and
worked the clock, and we tried to save as much time as we could.
But yeah, in the end, it might have been a blessing, I guess.
We had a minute 20. It's our Wednesday two-minute drill, minute
20, no timeouts, touchdown to win it. And I think we could have
won it. But once again, we got a pretty critical holding call.
We have two games in a row, last drive.
Talk a little bit about your defensive scheme, you had two downed linemen
and you had everybody else standing up. Was the object to try
to pursue and basically rally to the ball?
SWINNEY: There were downed linemen, yeah, but Da'Quan and them
guys standing up, and it's about controlling the guy on you to where
you can read and not let them escape and go cut other guys who are coming
to pursue, occupying blocks and then getting off of them. Same
thing we did first time we played them. We just didn't do a great
Can you just talk about the difficulty of watching them drive down the
field? You got it in hand, and you just can't make the stop on
that final drive?
SWINNEY: It makes you sick. It's just sickening. You
know, again, at some point we're going to grow up and be a championship
team again. We've got to make one more play. But we win
as a team, we lose as a team. There were a lot of plays in that
ballgame other than just that last drive.
also like to thank our fans. I thought our fans were tremendous.
Just unbelievable support out there tonight. I really appreciate
them supporting these guys and showing up. A ton of orange out
there, and again, I'm proud of our players. We've come a long
way in one year, one year and four days ago I was accepting this job,
and here we are in the ACC Championship Game, we're the Atlantic Division
champs. This is where we're supposed to be. This is where
Clemson is supposed to be. This is our standard. This is
our expectation. So hopefully we can grow from this.
a lot of guys have never been here. Hopefully we can grow from
this and get back here and finish the job.