home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 5, 2019

Tony Elliott

Santa Clara, California

Q. Biggest challenges you see on tape?
TONY ELLIOTT: Blocking No. 92, Williams, the rest of that defensive line. They're unbelievably long and strong. They got speed off the edge. The first thing is just handling the line of scrimmage. If you can handle the line of scrimmage, maybe you have a chance to get the ball in the air, make some plays on their secondary guys.

They're very, very long at corner. Thompson in my opinion is the best safety in the country, his range, toughness in the run game. Xavier is an interchangeable guy. He plays strong safety, then on third down he comes in the box. He's a very good blitzer.

They're a complete defense. We have to make sure we do a good job of establishing the line of scrimmage and our play-makers have to make plays.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I think there's no added pressure. You're playing on the biggest stage, with everything on the line. We want to get off to a fast start. That's our motto every single game. I don't think there's any added pressure other than we're playing for all of it, against a very, very, good defense. We have to do our job, which our job is to score points.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I don't think the expectations change. For us 'best' is a standard at Clemson. Doesn't matter who we're playing. The motto is it's all about us. If we take care of ourselves, we don't care who we have to play, we feel like we're going to have a chance to compete in the end.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Somebody is going to reach 15. That's probably going to be the best ever. Maybe I think there's one other recorded team that's gone 15-0, that was a long time ago. If this era, there's never been a 15-0 team. That team will have the stakes to say they're the best ever up till this point.

This opportunity is what these guys have been dreaming about. We know we got to go earn the right to a victory. We're going to have to play our best game.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I think the guys were bought into Trevor the day he showed up on campus. He came in with the right mentality, demeanor. He was very talented, highly regarded in the recruiting process. He came in as he is, a quiet young man that lets his actions speak louder than his words.

Obviously there are a lot of guys that might have been disappointed in the situation with Kelly. At the end of the day they felt confident in the coaching staff that we were practicing what we preach. That's not the only position that a young guys that beaten out an older guy. They knew he earned the right to start that game. Obviously everybody would have liked to see Kelly stick around. At the same time they knew he needed to do what was best for him. After we talked about it, and coach did an unbelievable job of addressing the team, we went out to practice and the guys moved on.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I felt that Deshaun could have been the No. 1 overall pick. He was that talented. He had the production. Obviously Trevor has to continue to develop, continue to produce. Obviously the people who make those decisions will make those decisions.

Just from the time I've been around him, the way he approaches the game, the physical talent I think everybody sees. What a lot of people don't get to witness is the mental ability of this young man. I'd categorize him a freak mentally. If he continues to stay humble, he'll continue to develop, have all the measurables.

Again, the cards will fall where they fall. I think he's one of the young men that will have the opportunity if he continues to be true to himself, he's going to develop mentally, physically, continue to hone his skills, he may have that opportunity.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I think it starts with just their approach. They prepare like pros. They pay attention to the details. They challenge themselves every single rep in practice, whereas some younger guys may come out there and just try to get through practice. These guys are trying to get better in practice. I think that helps them develop the skills they need to own the game plan.

By the time they get to the game, they're just playing ball, they're not thinking about it. They know where to go with the ball because that's how they prepare.

Q. (Question about backup quarterbacks.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I think it's a testament to where both programs are from a recruiting standpoint, to have depth at every position. Then also being able to create a mentality that next man up, that you have to prepare every single day as if you're the starter because you're one play away from, like you said, helping your team be successful to get an opportunity to play in the post-season.

Really proud of Chase, his development. Obviously from the outside looking in, proud of Jalen as well. Have a tremendous amount of respect for him, what he's been able to accomplish this year, do in the past, the way he's conducted himself.

It's a testament to both head coaches, the philosophies they have in their program, recruit to that, hold kids accountable to that standard.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: That would be a question you have to ask him. To be honest with you, that was the biggest game on the schedule. Guess what, we won the game, go to the next one, that's the biggest game on the schedule. We have that windshield mentality that we're always looking forward.

Coach gives them an opportunity to celebrate the game the night of the game. Flip the switch on Sunday morning, on to the next opponent. He would be able to answer that question better than I would.

I enjoy being around him. He always has a smile. Comes to work every single day ready to compete. He's just a pleasure to be around.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Just the ability to stay humble once they started to have success. Coach just made a comment, I really don't keep track of it, they've been able to win 12 games by 20 points or more, whereas if you look at '16, we were kind of trying to get through the season because they knew what they wanted to do in the post-season.

This team has been able to stay focused. The unselfishness, you talk about young guys coming into that receiver room, you have proven guys in that room, to be able to embrace his role, support him in his role.

The same thing with the runningbacks, being able to play four guys, nobody cares who is getting the most amount of touches as long as they're having success as an offense.

The growth and development of the offensive line, the continuity, the ability to mix and match, put different guys in there, not let the standard of play decrease. Really just the humility of this group, the togetherness, the willingness to go out and try to play their best four quarters every single week.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Biggest thing is the explosiveness. Last year we had to manufacture a lot of drives. We were young at spots, didn't quite have the explosiveness in the pass and run game consistently. This year we've been able to be explosive. You have a quarterback that puts the ball where it needs to go. Backs that break tackles, have big runs. When you can be balanced, also be aggressive, both running and throwing the ball...

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Schematically, we actually have been able to probably run the ball more consistently with the backs.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: He's able to stretch you both horizontally and vertically. It makes them make a decision. Travis is a year older. He's playing within the scheme. He's able to be patient, hit some big runs. Trevor has the ability, when we drop back and pass it, to know where to go with it.

Biggest thing is we're more consistent overall as an offense, running and passing. Then the guys are a year older, making more explosive plays.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: It's a big teaching moment. Obviously we saw it in high school. He played on the biggest stage in high school, played in All-Star games, state championship game, NFL stadiums. You know he can do it at that level.

To come on the road, one of the loudest environments, tight game, to go out there and be what we saw all along was a great teaching moment, probably more so from a confidence statement, to validate to him that I belong, I can do this. From that moment on, he just continues to come every day with the same work ethic. That's why he has the success he has.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: It's the same. Same offense. Even when Kelly was running it, it was the same offense. Obviously play-makers were a little bit different. Now, if you look at the '15 team as opposed to the '16 team, the guys were a year older. Mike Williams, guys making explosive plays, Wayne was a year older. All the guys are a year older. The pieces around the quarterback are more mature and they're making more plays for the quarterback.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: The maturity of the players has evolved more so than anything. The schemes are the same. The terminology is the same. We build the game plan the same way. We build the game plan, then all of our concepts for the most part, the quarterback has to manage it. Obviously Kelly did an unbelievable job with managing the system. At times he didn't have the play-makers making the plays for him like we got right now.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: No, it's each year. We want to really increase the tempo. There's going to be times. Obviously defenses react differently to tempo. Sometimes it's not quite as advantageous to play super fast. But we still want to have a good tempo, drive our snap count.

The philosophy is the same. There's been times we've been playing fast, other times where we've had some situations where the game is under control that we want to get some more guys in there, get them some playing experience. It's not advantageous to be as fast when you got young guys in there.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I think that's the reason why we're having opportunity to play in the post-season, because of the development of depth. You have a lot of guys that are able to play. If you have an injury, you got guys ready to play throughout the course of the season.

As you get into the post-season, it allows you to be really fresh for the run.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: No, because when you break them down, they're very, very similar. They're going to do what they do. Coach Saban has his handprint on the defense. Built the same way. Very stout in the defensive line. Very well coordinated at the linebacker spot, being able to get guys lined up. SEC is as aggressive and talented as they've always been. It is very similar.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: I don't think expectation-wise has exceeded it. We knew the kind of young man he was, the talent he was. At the end of the day he's got to go out and do it. Just to see what he's been able to do consistently is a credit to who he is, how he prepares.

His teammates are have rallied around him, too. For a guy to play at that level, you have to have guys around you making plays. Because of his demeanor, the way he comes to practice every day, it's elevated the game of all his play-makers.

Q. How does the Alabama defense compare to last year?
TONY ELLIOTT: On paper, they're not as dominant on paper (laughter). On film, they're very, very similar. I think Williams is a fantastic player. He's very disruptive, he's complete. He can do it all. He can two gap, penetrate, rush the passer, do it all from his position.

Bugs and Davis are a year older. Jennings is very experienced. Mack is running the show again, like he did last year. There's not a whole lot of difference. On paper, some people may see it. When you watch the film, they're very aggressive, very stout. If they get you in third down situations, they can single you up, put pressure on your quarterback, play man coverage, challenge you to make plays.

Q. Do you feel a lot better about your offensive line this year?
TONY ELLIOTT: Feel better about the runningback position in particular just because Travis is a year older. He understands more what we're trying to do from a protection standpoint. Obviously Adam is a senior. Feel good about that. Obviously (indiscernible) is a young guy. Pick my spots with him in pass protection. Feel good about that.

14 games our offensive line has been able to gain some consistency. We did give up three sacks last game. One was on the quarterback, should have threw it away. We have been consistent all year being able to limit sacks. That's a testament to Robby, the preparation there.

Feel good. We know we're going to be challenged, they're going to have a scheme, we're going to have to make an adjustment throughout the course of the game.

Q. (Question about field position.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Last year we had done the same thing. We had to do more of that. We had to put together consistent drives, be methodical, go score points. The difference was last year we weren't quite as explosive. We didn't get the chunk plays. This year we've been able to create those, be able to go put together drives.

Definitely our guys are going to be confident. For us, the objective is to end every drive in a kick. We feel like wherever you give us the ball, it's our job to go out and score points.

The guys are confident. One of the things we challenge them on is to figure out how they want to defend us, let's not get greedy, take what's there. We have our opportunities, let's make them count.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: Correct. This is Playoff football. That's what everyone is going to come in planning to defend, is the run. If you can stop the run, you make somebody one-dimensional. Now you can put them in some long yardage situations, gain the advantage. We have to be able to establish the line of scrimmage.

Some places Trevor was impatient. Some was getting the jitters out. We wanted to establish the line of scrimmage. That's what Notre Dame planned on stopping. They were twisting a lot, doing things to make sure we didn't get the running game going. They were giving us some one-on-one matchups the first quarter, hooked up with T, Justin Ross, able to take advantage of those. We were able to come out the second half, really come out and commit to the run. The more we were able to commit to it, the more we were able to be consistent, bang, there goes the big play.

Q. How special is it for you to have two of your runningbacks with single season rushing records at Clemson?
TONY ELLIOTT: That's pretty cool. I can't take the credit. Those guys, they're both workhorses. They come to work every day. They run violent. A lot of times a lot of those yards are after contact. They're both great young men. They set the standard of how you come to work every single day. It's been fun to watch those guys mature. I'm really excited for Travis and his future because I think he's got another ceiling to reach.

Q. (Question about Hunter.)
TONY ELLIOTT: No question, man. His career is going to give hope to a lot of people, not just football players, but people in general that come from an underdog mentality, underdog role, so to speak.

The way he's carried himself is what makes him special. You appreciate the plays he makes, but more importantly you appreciate the leadership, toughness, demeanor that he brings every single day. He makes everybody else around him better. He pushes the credit to his teammates, which is something all of us can learn, especially in this day and age where everybody wants to talk about themselves.

He's played in this game. This has been his biggest game. I'm excited to see what he has in store Monday night.

Q. What do you see from that Alabama defense that you can take advantage of?
TONY ELLIOTT: I don't know if there's any holes in this Alabama defense (laughter). As I said earlier, defensive line-wise, they're very, very stout. Got the best player in the country on the defensive line. Their linebackers are experienced. Dylan Moses is as good an athlete and tackler as you'll see in college football. Thompson is the best safety, in my opinion, in college football. Xavier roams around on the back end, gets in the box, rushes the passer. They have two 6'1" corners that can run, come up and challenge you, press coverage.

The best thing for our guys is they know what they go up against in practice, they're battle tested. They were able to take a month off, pick up where they left off. That can't just be swagger. Hopefully that's a humble confidence about themselves.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY ELLIOTT: That may be a little bit of a shot of confidence for them. They understand that we go as that offensive line goes. Obviously we got Trevor, Travis, all these other guys. But without those big guys up front, Tremaine walking up here, but without those guys up front, their consistency, continuity, the way they play, nothing is possible.

To be able to be as balanced this season, throw the ball, run it when we need to run it, throw it when everybody knows we're going to throw it, protect the passer, to give the guys an opportunity to make plays, that's the key to our success.

In my opinion, this is just my opinion, that's what the transition has been from us being Clemson to being a championship caliber Clemson, is that offensive line.

Q. The Syracuse game, could have lost that one. You had to dig deep. Has that increased the confidence with Chase?
TONY ELLIOTT: No question. For him to come in with the game on the line, to orchestrate the game that I think goes 94, 96 yards to win it, makes a huge fourth-and-six throw, it's a big shot of confidence for him.

I think the confidence overall for all of our players is the way we prepare. We prepare with purpose every single day. You got to bring effort with technique. There's got to be an all-in commitment level. That's the result you saw on the field with Syracuse, that they weren't going to be denied.

Their confidence is not just because we're Clemson, but the confidence is we prepare to a standard, we go out and play. We understand that adversity is going to hit. The championship teams, they respond to the adversity the right way. That's what all these guys have done all season.

Q. Runningbacks took it upon themselves to step up another level.
TONY ELLIOTT: I'm big on the unit, so obviously Travis gets a lot of the recognition right now because of the statistical numbers he's put up this year. At the end of the day we're a unit. We do everything together. It doesn't matter who is out there. There's a certain standard of performance that we have.

We understand that, we believe we're the heartbeat of the team. If we don't go, the team doesn't go. Again, our roles are going to vary each game depending on the defensive game plan. We have to be the heartbeat of the team. For a hundred snaps we'll protect the quarterback so we can be successful. If we have to run the ball for a hundred snaps, we'll run the ball.

That's the overall attitude we have as an offense, as a team, as a program.

Q. (Question about Travis' progression.)
TONY ELLIOTT: He's still got a lot of room before he hits his ceiling. First you'll start physically. He's made some progress, put on some good weight. He really hasn't started to fill out. If you look at him, he doesn't look like a typical runningback from the top up. From the bottom down he does. He's going to continue to mature upper body-wise, put on some more good weight to help him be more physical, a stronger runner.

Better understanding of the schemes. The more reps he gets with the different schemes that we run, he's going to be able to develop more patience, to be able to use his blocking a little bit better in pass protection, just continue to increase his knowledge, to be able to anticipate a little bit better so that he can beat guys to the point of attack and give himself more of advantage, as opposed to being at a disadvantage being late.

He's very dynamic right now, a special talent. But he and I both know there's more in that tank that we got to continue to figure out what are the buttons I got to push to help him grow, make sure that I'm giving him good instruction to help him develop the way he needs to develop.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297