Clemson Press Conference Quotes on Sunday
|Sunday, December 27, 2015 10:33 AM-|
Q. When you were growing up, are you more of an
NFL fan or a college fan, and either way, when you finally got to this point, did you ever dream that you'd be in a playoff game in college? Deshaun Watson: I grew up more college. A little bit of NFL just because the Falcons are right down the street. Just a bigger college fan because that's the video game I liked to play, just growing up seeing that and playing the game. I didn't think that the playoff committee was going to become a part. I didn't think I was going to see another playoffs until the NFL. But
NFL fan or a college fan, and either way, when you
finally got to this point, did you ever dream that
you'd be in a playoff game in college?
Deshaun Watson: I grew up more college. A little
bit of NFL just because the Falcons are right down the
street. Just a bigger college fan because that's the
video game I liked to play, just growing up seeing that
and playing the game. I didn't think that the playoff
committee was going to become a part. I didn't think I
was going to see another playoffs until the NFL. But
hey, it's here, and I'm enjoying it so far.
Q. What teams did you play with the most when
you were playing the college video game as a kid?
DESHAUN WATSON: As a kid probably Florida. I used
to love playing with Tim Tebow, and then as the games,
as I got older, I started playing with Oregon a little bit
more. I just liked to spread the teams around and do
the up tempo little things. That was probably the main
Q. From an outsider's perspective, what do you see
in Baker Mayfield?
DESHAUN WATSON: Yeah, he's a special player for
their team. You know, he does a great job because
without him they wouldn't be in this position. It takes a
special guy to lead a great team, and they're pretty
good, and they wouldn't be here for no reason.
Q. The Oklahoma defense, does it remind you of
anyone you've played this year?
DESHAUN WATSON: No, not really, just because
they're their own style. They have their own way of
doing things, and they have their own they're their
own team. When I go to play different teams I don't
compare them to no one else. I respect everyone, and
they're very good. They wouldn't be at this point for no
reason. We just have to go out there and play.
Q. Have you talked to Chad much throughout the
season leading up to the big game about what he's
been doing and what you've been doing?
DESHAUN WATSON: Yeah, we keep in touch all the
time, but it's not really about so much football. It's just
about checking on the family and checking on each
other, and just regular conversation. Whenever we talk
football, it's very brief. We just talk about how we're
doing, and hopefully we get to see each other soon.
We've always had that great relationship.
Q. Given the role that he had in getting you here,
he was one of those first guys that was recruiting
you and obviously paid a lot of attention to you to
make sure you ended up at Clemson. Is there any
part of you that's kind of sad that he's not here with
you, or when he decided to leave was it difficult?
DESHAUN WATSON: I mean, it was hard, but at this
level I understand what this role and what this business
is, and he had to take the next step. I knew during my
recruiting process that some day he would be a head
coach. God don't make mistakes. It was just time to
move on and take that next step. We talked, and it
wasn't really hard for me because we had that
relationship, that chemistry, that even though he's
going to leave we're still going to have that bond and
communicate. I'm his biggest supporter and No. 1 fan,
and whenever we're not playing, I'm going to try to
watch SMU and support them.
Q. How is Coach Swinney's personality different
than what you expected coming in?
DESHAUN WATSON: Nothing really. I mean,
everything he showed in recruiting has been true ever
since I've been here. He's probably the realest coach
I've ever talked to and been around, and he's going to
make sure you're a great citizen first before football
player, and then make sure you get your degree.
Everything he sells in recruiting is the same thing he
brings out whenever you get here.
Q. Is your mom going to be at this game?
DESHAUN WATSON: She will.
Q. What has that meant to you to have her at all
DESHAUN WATSON: It's a blessing to have her in the
stands and just to have her see her son achieve the
dreams that I always dreamed about, and every time
when I was a little kid I told her I wanted to play college
football and be at this stage, and now I'm here. So
being able to have her in the stands and support me is
Q. How is she doing?
DESHAUN WATSON: She's doing good.
Q. Some of the Oklahoma defenders are saying
they have to keep you in the pocket, that if they let
you out of the cage they're going to have a big
problem. What do you think about that?
DESHAUN WATSON: You know, it's on them. They're
going to have a scheme and try to contain me, but I've
still got a job to do. Either way, if I'm outside the pocket
or in the pocket, I've got to do my job. We just have to
see what happens, and they have their strategy and we
Q. Do you feel like you're more dangerous when
you are able to get out of the pocket?
DESHAUN WATSON: I feel like I'm dangerous either
way. I would say I didn't throw 3,500 yards for no
reason, and they weren't always outside the pocket.
Either way I feel like I'm pretty dangerous, and that's
just the confidence I have in myself and my
Q. Coaches have said that the deep ball is your
specialty. Where did you develop the penchant for
throwing it like that?
DESHAUN WATSON: It just started back in high
school, and my coach teaching me how to really
control the ball while it's in the air. Just over time
practicing it and just working on my craft, that's what I
did, and just learning tips and different ways of
throwing the ball. As I grew up, and I'm still trying to
master that position and throwing the deep ball and
learn from other guys. You know, it's still an oncoming
thing, but it's just one of the gifts that I'm happy to
Q. What are the nuances of throwing the deep ball?
What are some of the things that Coach Perry
drilled into you back then?
DESHAUN WATSON: You know, just really placing the
ball, and it starts with your feet and eyes. You know,
whenever you throw the ball you don't take your eyes
where the ball is, you take the ball where your eyes
are. It's kind of hard to explain. It's really better if I
actually show you. But that's probably
Q. Can you talk about the importance of ball
security in this football game?
DESHAUN WATSON: I mean, yeah, it's hard to win a
game if you don't take care of the ball. Last year we
took care of the ball, and I don't think they did. I can't
really remember. But that was probably the biggest
difference in the game. I mean, every game, whoever
has the ball most, especially in this game, is going to
probably come out on top. We want to control that and
make sure that we have every opportunity we have to
Wayne Gallman: Man, they have everything from
TVs to memory foam mattresses. For my mom, my
girlfriend, I'll take something simple like a smoothie.
Q. For yourself?
WAYNE GALLMAN: Yes. I already got too much stuff.
Q. Was that last year's gift, bowl gift, that you've
WAYNE GALLMAN: Yeah, and last year I remember
last year we got to go to Best Buy and we had so much
money to spend on whatever we wanted to in the store.
Q. What did you get?
WAYNE GALLMAN: I got some Beats and I got my
mom some Beats.
Q. Was this a little strange playing a team that you
beat so badly in last year's bowl game, but
obviously you're a different team, new quarterback,
new system? Is that a little strange given the
WAYNE GALLMAN: Not really, man. Having gotten
into it the last couple weeks, that thought was in the
back of my head, we're going to play Oklahoma again.
That's not really, no, I mean, they're a good team, and
we got better from last year, so no.
Q. What stands out about their defense?
WAYNE GALLMAN: Their whole box. They're fast,
physical. Their D line is a lot more athletic this year,
more fast. I mean, they've always been strong, but last
year their backers, they played real flat, didn't move
from side to side really good. So that's what you're
going to have to look forward to.
Q. Tell us a little bit about Dabo Swinney. As a
head coach, how would you describe him?
WAYNE GALLMAN: I'd describe him as a very laid
back coach, down to earth, and someone you can talk
to about whatever. Man, he's a great leader. This
whole season has just been led by him, and we follow
everything he does. Whatever he does, we try to do to
our best ability to expect the best not only from him but
Q. Are you involved with him a lot at each
individual position or are you closer with your
WAYNE GALLMAN: From time to time. Like I'm pretty
much cool with all the coaches, but I'd say I'm closest
with Coach Elliott, Coach Davis that works in the
building. But I talk to Coach Swinney, as well. I talk to
Q. What do you see as sort of a key hurdle in this
season? Is it when you held off Notre Dame? Is
that sort of what ignited you guys, or is there a
point in the season that you look at as sort of the
WAYNE GALLMAN: I'd say the turning point this
season, yeah, Notre Dame was one of those games.
But I'd say Miami was really when we got really all in,
and the plan really started to just flow together. We
were good on both sides of the ball, so I think that's
what we started to get good.
Q. What happened that day to beat a decent team
WAYNE GALLMAN: Everything just clicked. The game
plan was right. Everybody came to play, and we played
Q. Has it kind of hit you you're in the College
Football Playoff, what you guys worked for all
WAYNE GALLMAN: I kind of expected it out of us. I
told you a couple weeks ago, I expected it, and it just
feels really good to be here, and to be able to go
downtown and just enjoy it, it feels awesome, just the
fact that we're down here.
Q. You weren't here then, but in 2011 it seems like
Coach Swinney worked the guys to death basically.
By the time they got here in 2011 a lot of them
talked about how worn out they were. Talk about
the time he gives you guys once you get to the
bowl site. Seems like he gives you guys a lot of
WAYNE GALLMAN: Yeah, he does, and he actually
tells us that he's learned from the past and he knows
that we need more rest, more time to relax, and we're
just down here to have fun, but we're also down here to
beat Oklahoma. I think he's learned a lot from his
experiences, and that's always a good thing.
Q. If you guys think that you've been kind of like
overlooked and disrespected and OU thinks
they've been overlooked and disrespected, what
happens when two teams think they're
Eric Mac Lain: It's just a great big pile of disrespect,
like you said. We don't know who's getting more or
less, but I think it's pretty evident when you turn on
ESPN and you turn on the news who's been
disrespected and who's not. I think it's pretty silly for
them to say that. Of course they dropped to 4, but
that's the whole getting them in the National
Championship conspiracy, so that's interesting.
Q. At the start of the year basically you had one
guy come back on the line and you had to replace
everybody on the defensive line. How big a
challenge is that, and honestly did you expect to be
ERIC MAC LAIN: Yeah, definitely. I just think the talent
that I knew that we had coming on the defensive line,
you know, I said from day one Christian Wilkins was
going to be a monster among children, and he's proven
that. He's just dominated offensive lines that he's gone
against. From the offensive line I knew that we had
something special, just the brotherhood that we had,
that we might not have all started games, but we
played a lot, when you look at the different snaps and
things like that. I knew that we had the capability, just
whether a matter of fact we came together and did it or
Q. You've been a part of three Orange Bowls now.
What do you remember about the first two Orange
ERIC MAC LAIN: In the first one getting my tail drug up
and down the field. As a redshirt watching that it was
probably a very traumatic experience, one of the worst
of my college career. And then the second one was
just awesome, going against Ohio State in that Orange
Bowl, seeing the performance Sammy Watkins put on
in that game. That's where he got drafted, from that
game alone. I really feel like he just really blew up.
The Orange Bowl has been pretty good to us these last
two times that we've been here having big wins, so it's
Q. How do you think that the first Orange Bowl
Clemson was in in 2011, how do you think the
program grew from that, dealing with that loss?
ERIC MAC LAIN: I think the biggest thing that you've
seen is the way the coaches have approached the
situation with the bowl. We've had great success the
last four years since then. I really think that Coach
Swinney has changed and adapted to the way that he
coaches. The first year we were here a week early, it
was basically camp. No one wanted to be here by the
time the game was played. We were all tired, tired of
seeing each other, and so I just think that with the
physicality that we practiced with and things like that
it just wasn't smart for playing 11 or so games. So he's
realized now that you've got to take care of your
players, and he's done an outstanding job in the way
that he's progressed and grown as a coach.
Q. Has the vibe down here been really different the
last two times than it was in that first game?
ERIC MAC LAIN: Oh, yeah. Guys are excited to be
here. Guys are happy for the opportunity. I think the
biggest thing about this team that's so unique is we all
love to play football. It doesn't matter whether we're
playing Wofford, Furman or Oklahoma in the playoff
game. We're all going to be excited to play, and I think
that's been something that's been different about this
team, and I think that's what makes us so dangerous.
Q. How have practices been different now?
ERIC MAC LAIN: Just the physicality, really. We used
to just go full pads every day, just smacking around.
Now not full pads. The first time we were in full pads
was a week ago all season except for on Saturdays, of
course. We just really have toned it down. We're not
hitting each other nearly as much. You don't need that.
We know how to play football. We know how to hit. At
this level it's all mental. So the more mentally prepared
you are, the more you can look at their defense and
know what they're doing, that's a lot better than you
being able to go against Ben Boulware and hitting him
every day, so I think that we've really been able to save
ourselves a great deal of pain and injury from that
Q. What's it been like to watch the transformation
of this program? That first Orange Bowl you were
a good ACC team but now you're in a playoff.
ERIC MAC LAIN: It's just been cool to watch. I think
Coach Swinney has got the character type guys that he
wants, whether that's coaches or players. I think our
support staff is second to none. We really have been
able to go out there and get the best in the country.
Obviously our coordinators have been a huge deal in
that. So I really think it's just been a growing process
through players and coaches, and you guys have seen
first hand what that can do.
Q. Was there a turning point during your career
that you went, oh, wow
ERIC MAC LAIN: I think the summer after the LSU
game. The off season, going into that, that was
obviously a huge win for our program, and kind of the
momentum that that took us into the off season with I
think was just really cool, and the leadership that you
saw emerge from young guys was just second to none
that I've ever seen.
Q. When you're protecting a quarterback who's
mobile like that, do you kind of always have to be
aware of where he's at?
ERIC MAC LAIN: Yeah, you never know where he's
going to scramble out and run, but at the end of the
day, him being so mobile really helps us out. I don't
have to block perfect every single play because I know
that he has my back and he's going to make us right,
so I think the ability of Deshaun Watson has saved us a
ton this year. But it is a little difficult, like you said, just
because you might be blocking your man one way, and
I could be straying into where he's running. So it's a
little difficult at times, but it's definitely more positive
Q. A year ago when you guys were kind of learning
the ropes, you figured out what you wanted to do
your first bowl game, how much have you changed
personally, both of you, in the last year?
JEFF SCOTT: Obviously the experience through those
14 games are very valuable, but I would say deep
down, philosophy wise and really the same mentality
and goals that we had going into that bowl game last
year and kind of the foundation of what we wanted to
do offensively really has not changed. I think probably
we've become a little bit better in our planning and
scripting and doing those type of things, and then
obviously on game day the communication and all that,
you're going to get better each game that you go, so
that's helped. But I think philosophy of what we were
doing offensively and what we wanted to do each game
really has not changed.
TONY ELLIOTT: Think the biggest thing for me is just
growing in confidence prior to the game last year, I
think all the way up in preparation I was fine, and then
we had our final meeting in the hotel before we sent
the kids back to the room before pregame, and that's
when I started to get nervous, and I don't quite get as
nervous because I know that, one, I've got a great staff
and a great group of players that believe in me. The
coaches are prepared. The call sheet is not too big.
That's what we learned last year I think coming out of
that bowl game is we looked at the call sheet from last
year and there wasn't a whole lot on it. Obviously it
was our first time and we just wanted to give our kids
an opportunity to be successful. I think learning that
and the challenge of staying as simple as possible but
also making sure that you're not predictable but then
just getting back to the foundation of the system and
being committed to running the football, and a lot of
that has to do with the guys up front and Wayne and
how they perform this year.
Q. Did you guys feel more pressure last year going
into your first game as OCs or this year going into
a playoff game?
JEFF SCOTT: I would probably say last year with it
being the first one. There were a lot of questions, not
just with the promotion of Tony and myself to co
offensive coordinator, but obviously we had some
injuries. We were short at tight end. Deshaun had just
played a great game versus South Carolina, and now
he's going to be out, and so there were a lot of
questions going into that game, playing a very tough
opponent, and I don't remember the exact dynamics of
it, but I think Oklahoma popped up out of nowhere on
our radar screen for the bowl game, and we went, wow,
from the outside, I think there were a lot of people
maybe doubting how that bowl game was going to turn
But I think the confidence that just like we coach our
players, you never arrive as a player. You always are
continuing to learn and get better, and as coaches
we're the same way. We don't feel like we've arrived
and we have all the answers. But we feel like we're a
lot more prepared, and so I think with preparation kind
of alleviates a little bit of the pressure, and really we
kind of try to live in a little submarine right there within
the walls of what we do and try not to get caught up
with all the outside stuff, and obviously having time
over the break to kind of sit back and think about the
position you're in and the possibilities that lie ahead,
really we try to use all of our energy and time in our
preparation because you waste some time thinking
about all the outside stuff, it will not help us.
TONY ELLIOTT: Coach Swinney does an unbelievable
job of kind of insulating us and protecting us from the
outside pressure, and then the same way preparing our
guys that every game is the biggest game of the
season, so this game right here that we we're
preparing for, we're not going to do anything different. I
wish we would have a little bit more time, so we'll go
back and study ourselves to make sure our tendencies
are not too predictable, but it will be the same
approach. We'll have the same practice plan. I think
that helps us from a confidence standpoint and it helps
us to not get caught up in ourselves and put more
pressure on ourselves by focusing on what's going on
outside. I'd say the more pressure was last year
because it was the first time not knowing what to
expect my first time up in the box, but now I've got a
little bit more experience, but also at the same point I
understand that I haven't arrived like Jeff said. I've got
a lot to learn. I've made some bad calls this season.
There's some things I'd like to do differently. There's
more efficiency that I'd like to get into the game
planning process that's going to come over the next
couple years as we continue to go forward. So just
focusing on what we do, how we do it, alleviates a lot of
Q. Just being up in the box, this is your first year
with that vantage point.
TONY ELLIOTT: I think it's allowed me to be in a
situation where it's a lot calmer and so I can listen to
Jeff and hear what he's saying, I can hear what Coach
Swinney is saying, Coach Streeter, Coach Caldwell
and take all the information in between series and kind
of formulate a plan like, okay, this is what we're all
seeing and let's get to this. So it's not so much that it's
all me. It's just being able to be up where I'm out of the
battlefield environment with a lot calmer, so I can just
be focused on the call sheet, and take in all the
information, processing it and then getting it back out to
the guys so we can make the proper adjustments.
Q. How different is this Oklahoma defense from the
team you played last year at this time?
TONY ELLIOTT: I'd say structurally it's very similar.
They have added a few wrinkles which makes them a
little more multiple, but they're playing with a lot more
confidence. It looks like up front they're moving a little
bit better. They had a really, really big nose guard that
causes problems, but now you've got to account for all
three of their down linemen. The linebackers are very
experienced, very skilled in the secondary. Their
corners are very dangerous. They can play you in off
coverage and be effective. They can come up and play
you bump and run, man coverage in your face, so they
are little bit more multiple, but they are just playing at a
higher level, a lot more confidence, communicating
better and you don't see any busted assignments. You
see them all on the same page.
Q. Coach Stoops was saying he feels like Deshaun
is about as advanced as you can be more a
sophomore. You obviously had him committed for
a long time and had a plan for him. Where is he
right now when you look at him from the big
picture at the end of his sophomore year?
JEFF SCOTT: Well, I mean, we knew talent standpoint
wise that he was going to be a very talented player
early on, and we were very fortunate that he came to
our football camp maybe before he went to anybody
else's football camp so we could see that part. But the
part that you don't know until they get there inside the
meeting room is the mental aspect, and I think we
found out pretty quickly his freshman year being put in
some games, his very first game at Georgia has been
talked about a little bit already, but it was a huge check
that he made against a very exotic blitz, and to be able
to get it checked and throw his first touchdown pass in
his first game in his home state of Georgia, that was
probably the first moment when we went, wow. And
then later on in the season there was a run where he
started three or four games there and had a lot of
success, and just the decision making as coaches, I
said last year we set the record for most times using
the word wow on the headsets. I mean, his freshman
Rev #1 by #166 at 2015-12-27 14:52:00 GMT page 5 of 8
year, we're sitting here, a lot of these plays that are run
pass tags and they're combo plays that he can throw it
to the boundary, he can throw it to the field or he can
hand it off or run it up the middle, and based off the
defense he's got a decision to make, and he's sitting
here as a true freshman, and a lot of times obviously
we know the offensive play call and we can see the
defense start moving, so in our mind we've done this
for four years, we know what the end result, where the
ball should go. We're just watching this freshman go in
there and make the right decision every single time,
and even though we've seen this 10 times over the last
four years, this is the first time this 18 year old
quarterback has ever seen it and he's getting it right.
So I think we knew really early on that not only does he
have great physical talents, but his mental strength and
decision making is going to be a huge advantage. But
Deshaun would tell you, as every competitor, he's not
he hasn't reached his ceiling. I mean, I think he's
obviously an elite talent, one of these guys that as
coaches you may not coach another guy like that, but I
think he still has things that he wants to work on and
improve. But we're obviously very pleased with where
he is, especially missing the games that he missed last
year with all the injuries and all that. I mean, he picked
right back up this fall like he was a second year starter,
played all season last year.
Q. What do you remember about that game in 2011
and how that put you guys on the road to where
you are now?
Charone Peake: Yeah, it was a very ugly loss, but it
was a tight game going into halftime. We had that
turnover, they had that long fumble recovery for a
touchdown, and that kind of led to a lot of wrong things.
I think that loss itself helped us improve as a program
and how to prepare for a bowl game. A lot of guys
were drained before the game even started. Mentally
they weren't there, and it showed on film.
Q. Offenses these days have become so much
about 50/50 balls, who wins those individual
battles. Why has it become such a big factor in
offenses these days?
CHARONE PEAKE: I think because of the way these
freaks we have in the game now. We have like Odell
Beckham as receivers as stuff. Knowing how athletic
those guys are, you just throw it up, and either you're
going to catch it or you're not.
Q. Basically it's almost impossible to defend if
you've got a guy that can go get it, right?
CHARONE PEAKE: Yeah, exactly. That's why that
guy that ran them up, it's probably not even 50/50, it's
more like 80/20. That's what teams are really looking
for, receivers like that.
Q. And the way Deshaun throws the deep ball,
right, it's almost perfect for your offense?
CHARONE PEAKE: Yeah, it definitely is. He puts the
ball exactly where he needs to be every time. He does
a good job controlling the offense, and the good thing
for our offense is we don't really have to do that as
much because we're confident that we can take the
little things sometimes or even run the ball because our
offense is so balanced.
Q. Do you go into the game thinking, okay, we're
going to take so many 50/50 shots because you've
got to do it? Do you have to do it now in this day
and age of football where you've got to try to?
CHARONE PEAKE: We definitely don't do it as much
here as we used to. I think that's because our
coordinators, they really do a good job of they don't
just say, we're going to throw it up and see what
happens. They do a good job of preparing every week
and having plays to get us open.
Q. You replaced your entire offensive line,
defensive line, playing a lot of freshmen, and yet
you guys are No. 1. How do you get there?
CHARONE PEAKE: Like you said, we had to replace
all of them, but I think our long game has been the
strongest part of our offense, and Deshaun has gone
multiple games without getting sacked. We're so
balanced, and we protect Deshaun, and us as
receivers, so those linemen, they've been successful.
Q. Were you confident that they could be as good
as they are?
CHARONE PEAKE: Definitely. They've got some great
leaders up front with Aaron Mac Lain and Ryan Norton,
and I know they were definitely working all summer and
I knew it was going to be a special season.
Q. How prepared do you feel for this game?
CHARONE PEAKE: Really prepared. We've been
doing a lot of meetings. Oklahoma has a defense just
like ours, so we're very prepared, and I think that's
going to be really key for us.
Q. How much pride do you take in the
transformation from the 2011 Orange Bowl team to
CHARONE PEAKE: Yeah, definitely a lot. Because of
that team, that 2011 team, it's definitely everything
we've done up until now. I think guys now on the team,
they don't I think we used to be in the past we used
to be overwhelmed with the big games. I think now
they're used to it, and when adversity hits, we're
Q. Oklahoma's secondary struggled quite a bit last
year. This year they've completely kind of had a
makeover. It's the same guys but maybe a couple
of different positions. What's been your
CHARONE PEAKE: Yeah, it's pretty much the same
defense, same guys last year we went up against, but
they've gotten a lot better, and you can see they're
more confident, too. They do a good job when the ball
is in the air going and attacking just like the receivers,
and I think for us as a team, we're going to have to be
disciplined in protecting Deshaun.
Jordan Leggett: I remember I was really young so
I didn't get to play as much, but I did have one key
catch. Every bowl game we get to play in, it's all about
just having fun and getting bowl experience. It's been
fun so far, so I'm definitely excited for the game. I feel
like a lot of Clemson fans are going to be there, as well,
so it might turn out to be another home game like the
Q. Is there anything that makes the Orange Bowl
experience special from what you've been a part
JORDAN LEGGETT: I think the experience just comes
with the location, just being down here in Fort
Lauderdale/Miami area, it's been a blast. I know the
whole team has been having fun with it. We get to go
to South Beach tonight, so I'm pretty sure the whole
team will be down there just walking around the
streets. It's just been a whole lot of fun to spend time
with your teammates.
Q. Is there any advantage to having played here
earlier this season when you guys faced the
Hurricanes? This is the third time in five years the
team has been back here. Do you feel like that
helps you at all?
JORDAN LEGGETT: It brings a lot of momentum. I
mean, home field advantage is kind of for the team that
knows the field the best kind of thing. Since we've
played here three times, like you said, the last five
years, we definitely know the field. We know
everything about it. It was really good to have the
young guys play in it this year. It will definitely be okay
for us just being so close to Florida and stuff like that
and South Carolina. But I feel like it will be a home
field advantage for us since we've played here so many
Q. Wayne was saying after the Miami game he
remembers Coach Swinney telling you guys, you
have a chance to be back here at the end of the
year. Do you remember him talking about that?
How much did you guys talk about getting to this
point, to the Final Four, all year?
JORDAN LEGGETT: We just tried to take it one game
at a time, really, just each game was just as important
as the last one. If we would have got beat by Wofford
at the beginning of the year I don't think we'd be sitting
in this place right now. We just took every game one
step as a time, but it's been a long season, and getting
closer and closer to the playoffs and the semifinals, it's
been fun to talk about with the team just because we're
so close. We're about to be the No. 1 seed. We're
excited, but we couldn't get complacent or anything like
that. We had to keep practicing with a purpose and go
out there and win every game that we had a chance of
Q. Oklahoma hasn't really faced a legit tight end
threat, certainly not the way that you are. Do you
kind of view this as a match up that you're excited
to be involved in because they're not going to be
used to going against somebody who does what
you do on the field?
JORDAN LEGGETT: It's definitely going to be fun. I
guess, like you said, they don't use them as much up in
their conference. It'll definitely be fun for me to see if
they change their defensive game plan at all or if they
just keep it the same. I'm just going to do whatever I
can to help the team win really, and I'm not going to do
anything extra, just keep doing what I do, just be
Jordan Leggett. So it's definitely going to be fun. I feel
like our offense is going to match up against their
defense pretty well. Hopefully it's just like last year.
That's what everybody is thinking, hopefully. We'll just
see how it goes, but we're definitely extremely excited.
Q. How does your role change this year? Did you
envision at the beginning of the year that your
season would go like it has, or has this been a little
bit of let's see how far we can push Jordan Leggett
and see what he can do?
JORDAN LEGGETT: I had no idea that I'd be sitting as
I am right now, just being All ACC and stuff like that. I
had no idea I'd be here, but I guess that just came with
staying healthy throughout the whole season this year
and just coaches putting a lot more trust in me, just
working in the off season and stuff like that. I feel like
the coaches have really developed trust in me, and it's
really shown through all my games that I've played, just
with them giving me the rock and stuff like that.
Q. What do you see in Oklahoma's defense and
what they do?
JORDAN LEGGETT: They play a 3 4, so pretty much
they're designed to play two gap on the defensive line,
stop the run. All their linebackers are very athletic.
They run very well side to side. I feel like they're going
to try to stop the run early on, but since we have so
many skill players out there that are phenomenal
athletes, I feel like they're going to have to rethink how
they play defense against us, just because we're so
dual threat and multidimensional. They're going to
have to really game plan to see which way they want to
Q. They were saying they don't envision changing
their game plan much. They're kind of doing the
same thing. Do you think from what you see on
tape that you can explain?
JORDAN LEGGETT: There's definitely a lot of things.
Every team has tendencies and stuff like that. They
bring a lot of blitz, but with that comes with just
knowledge, offensive line being on the same page,
picking them up, and whenever that happens, that
means we've got to hit them deep or something like
that. It will definitely be fun to watch, but just having
Deshaun back there, I feel like we'll be able to pick him
apart the whole game, just tell when they're coming on
the blitz or anything like that. But the offensive line
hasn't given up a sack in I think the last five games in a
row, so I don't think it's going to change.
Q. Is this going to be one of the better pass
rushing teams you've seen this year?
JORDAN LEGGETT: I wouldn't even say that, just with
striker being an outside linebacker. I feel like both of
our tackles are going to be ready for him. I mean, it's
just a mismatch problem, with him being so big. He
can try to run around them, but just having two athletic
tackles like that might be a little harder for him. Striker
is definitely a phenomenal athlete. It's going to be fun
to play against him, and he has a pretty badass name,
Striker, too. It will definitely be fun. We've game
planned all week for it. We've got ready for all the
blitzes that he's going to run. It'll be fun to see.