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January 5, 2019

Jeff Scott

Santa Clara, California

Q. Is it noticeably different this year in terms of what you did?
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, I mean, I think for us, probably very similar to when Deshaun was there just because of his arm strength, the way he was able to read the field, his ability to make really good decisions. It was very easy for us. It wasn't like we were having to go and create new plays. We really were just able to kind of get back to some of the things we had done the previous maybe three years with Deshaun.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, I think so. I think when you have a guy like that back at quarterback, I mean, it allows you to really attack the entire field, where maybe at times we didn't do that as much the year before.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: We really don't see it that way at all. I mean, we haven't had to run him as much early in the year, obviously him just kind of getting started. Obviously ran him a little bit more last week versus Notre Dame. We think he runs really good.

Q. Was that part of the plan going into Notre Dame?
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, I think so. I think this time of the year, this is our fourth year kind of having this progress. Understanding earlier in the year you may not want to run him as much. When you get to this part of the year, everything is on the table.

Q. Did you sense that after you reviewed the film?
JEFF SCOTT: Kind of keeps the defense honest a little bit. It definitely was something going into the game because we had a lot of respect for Notre Dame, their front four, that we were going to need those defensive ends honest to give us a chance to run the ball.

Q. (Questions about comparing Deshaun and Trevor.)
JEFF SCOTT: I think one thing is is very evident, my wife can sit in the stands and have a lot of similar comparisons. I can remember two years ago when Deshaun left, myself, Brandon Streeter, our quarterbacks coach, Tony Elliott, we jog a couple days a week, we were talking about when Deshaun left, it may be a long time before we have another guy like that.

To be fortunate enough one year later to be right back in the same ballgame. We look at Deshaun as kind of a once-in-a-career type of quarterback as a coach. You're very fortunate if you have a guy like that. For us to have two guys within a couple years is really just amazing.

But, yeah, they're very similar in a lot of ways. Obviously they have a few differences. But for us, it's not just the arm strength. I think it's what you get in meetings when you're sitting down. That was one thing we were probably most impressed with with Trevor. We knew the arm strength. You really don't know how he processes things until you get in a meeting room with him.

I can remember really our first week meeting with him, it was like, Wow, this guy has a great knowledge already, great foundation, came from a great program there. Joey King, his head coach, one of the best high school coaches in the country. Runs a very similar system.

Trevor during lunch would go to his coach's office and they'd sit there and watch film. The foundation when he came in really helped. Then what I appreciated about Deshaun was if somebody got him one time with something, a certain look, a certain blitz, disguise, you weren't going to get him on that twice. Once he saw it, understood it. He could recognize it. See a lot of those similarities with Trevor as a young player that it's hard to get him twice. He's able to learn and adapt very quickly.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: It's a big part of our program. I think it's a big part of all programs. At a place like Clemson where the head coach was a walk-on, many of the coaches, myself and Tony Elliott, were former walk-ons.

To be able to practice the way you want to practice, be able to get good looks, be able to keep your guys healthy, not have to go good-on-good every day in practice. The walk-ons are critical.

Also we have a lot of walk-ons that have vital roles on special teams. There may be opportunities to rest a few of your starters here and there. Especially now we're getting ready to play our 59th game in four years. That's a lot of games. We always are kind of watching our guys' legs, making sure we have enough tread on the tires.

Those walk-ons help us not only in practice, but in special teams. Every once in a while you'll have a guy like Hunter Renfrow that's able to be an impact player for you.

Q. The ones that don't get on, what keeps them around?
JEFF SCOTT: I knew when I came to Clemson, the chances of me being an every down starter probably weren't real high. I could have gone to a lower level of football. A lot of these guys have that decision to make. Really they want to be part of something special, something like Clemson.

I was walking with Carter Groomes, one of our walk-on wide receivers, been here for four years, think about the places we've been the last four years, that experience.

Those guys feel a part of it. I think the other thing I appreciate about our culture is our starters appreciate the walk-ons. One of my favorite pictures from this season is watching a guy like Derion Kendrick, freshman wide receiver, stand on the sidelines holding his hands up when Will Swinney scored a touchdown. Derion is a five star receiver freshman, doesn't have a touchdown on the year. Here he is fired up for one of his fellow walk-on receivers getting his first touchdown of the year.

I think that's something that we take a lot of pride in, I think kind of separates our culture from some of the others.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that's a big part of it. Any time you're playing good teams, it's going to come down to that. Going into the Notre Dame game last week, I actually went back and showed our receivers the plays that we made two years ago against Alabama, one-on-one plays, thinking about Mike Williams, deep balls, jump balls. Then the plays we had opportunities our last Playoff game last year against Alabama where we didn't finish some of those plays.

Really the mindset that we want to have as wide receivers is that we're going to win the game, if we make our plays. If we don't make our plays, we're putting the balance of the game in jeopardy. Really kind of taking that on our shoulders.

Videos, ball is up, we make it, we win, we get to celebrate, or we don't make the catch, we lose, everybody goes home. That's the mentality I want our guys to have when they're going up. It's a big part of our game last week. It wasn't like outside of one of those touchdowns, the other ones were contested plays where guys had to finish plays down the field. That's definitely going to be a big part of that. That group over there is long, talented guys. We want to win our fair share, for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, there were four that we had opportunities that we did not, yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I mean, it was a great finish. I've seen him make that play in practice. It wasn't like a complete surprise, that I'd never seen from him before. But it was great to see him finish on that type of stage.

He is as talented as any receiver we've had come through Clemson. It's been really special just to watch him continue to make plays as the season goes, as the stage gets bigger.

Q. (Question about Trevor.)
JEFF SCOTT: He has. There's no doubt. I think just his comfort level with everything. There's a lot going on for the quarterback obviously protection-wise. That's a whole game within itself. Then on the outside with our routes, the different combinations of routes, the different adjustments that we make post snap based off the coverages. Just kind of getting a comfort level with all of that.

Also being a freshman quarterback who is a talented guy, you know, other teams try to change things up. They do things that maybe they didn't do in previous games, so he has to kind of adjust in game. I think he's done a good job of kind of seeing that, just expecting that now. Going into games, What can they do, what do I need to look for? Becoming more and more comfortable.

That's the exciting thing for us, is he's still just a freshman. He's going to continue to get better, which is exciting.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, it was definitely one of his better performances. I don't remember exactly the number compared to other games. But definitely it was one of his better. He made a lot of really good decisions. We were very pleased with the way that he played.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: No question. I mean, I can't wait till the off-season. I've already talked to a lot of scouts just through the years. I've been telling them about Hunter since he was a sophomore. They know all about him. I can't wait here for the next few months getting ready for pro day, combine, all those things, to share some insight.

If he stays healthy, in my opinion he can play 10 years in the NFL if he gets in the right team that uses a slot like him just because the things he does, he can't coach. That's what the guys in the NFL have a knack for being able to get open. Everybody at that level runs well. The guys that can separate and get open, those are the guys you're looking for.

He's proven year in and year out against some of the best competition in the country, go down the list of all the teams we played through the last four years, he's had a lot of success. I'm excited to kind of watch his pro day, all those types of things as he gets ready for the draft.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: He's one I don't want to talk to them about at all. We want to keep him to ourselves at least for 24 more months. They've definitely made some comments early in the year, whenever we were kind of making the transition. They definitely made some positive comments, obviously know who he is.

Q. Would you prefer he stays in the pocket Monday night?
JEFF SCOTT: I think his legs are important. Whenever we go back to the last time we beat Alabama, in 2016, Deshaun made a lot of plays. The one helicopter play I still remember, glad he was able to get up.

He has to be a factor. Some of it's in called runs, some of it they have a great pass-rush. They're going to get guys back there. I think that's one thing that Trevor has done an excellent job. Fewest number of sacks this year. The offensive line has done a good job. Also Trevor has a great feel of when it's time to get out of the pocket.

The biggest thing for us is kind of telling him when to get down, when to get the first down, protect himself at times. There's no doubt he's got to do whatever it takes to continue to move. I think when you're playing a team like Alabama, quarterback's legs are important.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I think probably the one that stands out is his freshman year, he had 25 offers. Coach Swinney has a pretty hard and fast rule that he does not offer freshmen. We were trying to tell Coach Swinney about Trevor. He's one of those, very similar to Deshaun, we offered Deshaun as a sophomore. We know about Trevor as a freshman.

Coach Streeter and myself are trying to tell Coach Swinney, We need to offer him. He was coming here on an visit that day. If we don't offer him, we may be out of it.

Coach is like, We'll see.

I remember him walking in the room, he looked like an NFL quarterback, big shoulders, wrist, elbows, knees. There's no doubt Coach Swinney is going to offer him a scholarship.

Within five minutes, he's like, These guys are telling me we need to offer you, but we don't offer freshmen. Here is why.

Are you kidding me?

When we left out of the room, Coach Streeter and I made sure he and his dad knew, as soon as we're allowed to offer a guy, he's going to get an offer that minute. Please don't run.

I really think in the end, just Coach Swinney being honest, transparent, and he explained why. You haven't driven a car, been to prom, you're 15 years old, I want to see you make good decisions. I don't want to offer some 6'4" ninth grader. I want to get to know you if you're going to be the face of our program.

To a guy like Trevor and his family, that actually meant something rather than throwing out a blank offer because of a stat sheet or something like that.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Absolutely. I remember thinking about my dad's career at Florida State, having a chance to coach Charlie Ward. He was that one guy, led Florida State to a national championship when my dad was there.

When Deshaun was here, we kind of thought, Man, having an opportunity to coach a guy like that, he'll probably be the last one that we'll ever get. For two years later to have a guy like Trevor come in, I mean, to be honest, we just feel very blessed. We don't have in egos that we're making these guys better than they are, they'd just be average guys somewhere else. We know they're very talented guys. We want to help them be their best.

Really we just feel blessed they chose Clemson. That's a big reason we're having an opportunity to be in the Playoff four years in a row. There's other guys out there. I'm sending them pictures saying, Hey, you help keep us in the Playoff, with guys like yourself. Obviously with them seeing Deshaun, now Trevor, I think that helps.

Deshaun's success at Clemson I think definitely helped us prove to Trevor. There were a lot of people telling Trevor, you have to go to the pro style, can't play in the spread. We had a guy like Deshaun come in and have ultimate success. I think that really helped Trevor.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I mean, obviously you're talking to their coaches, you're watching them. Both of these guys played in three or four state championships. Started as freshmen. You see them in camp, overall demeanor. You don't know till you get out on the practice field, probably till you get out on the game field.

We could tell in spring ball, he could make throws, we would turn around and look at each other, Wow, did you see that? Last time I saw that was Deshaun.

You never know till you get out in the game and let him play a little bit. Obviously he proved doing that that he was a special player.

Q. Talk about Hunter a little bit, what you've seen from him over the years.
JEFF SCOTT: Been here five years. I'm used to having receivers here for three years. I'm happy that he was a little smaller, not heavy enough, all that stuff, or he probably would have been gone after three years like most of our guys are at the receiver position.

He's played really with two offensive groups. He played with Deshaun's group, last year with Kelly, now this year with Trevor. But just a consistent play-maker, a guy you can count on.

When we call a play that's designed for him, I can turn around and start getting the guys ready for the next play. I don't even have to watch because I know he's going to be exactly where he needs to be. If he doesn't make the play, then it means that defense did an excellent job.

There was a corner route we ran against Notre Dame. Knocked it down. A great play by that kid. They're going to have to be absolutely perfect to be able to cover a guy like him.

I think also his leadership, the respect he brings in our offense and in our wide receiver room, I think he's been very valuable off the field, as well.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Yeah, I think he can do both. We try to look at each year is different. Each year our offense is a little bit different based off of the strengths and maybe challenges that we have. Then same thing for them. Each year is a little bit different.

But you got a lot of video. It's not unlike when we play some of our conference teams every year. It's just that happens to be in the Playoffs or in a bowl game that we're playing the same team.

But we go back and look at our games also, see things we did, then find counters off of that for this game. There's a lot of things. They're not going to show us the exact same looks they showed us last year or the year before. A little bit of cat and mouse game back and forth.

The biggest thing is being able to have a plan for different things, kind of find out early what their plan is, then get to our adjustments pretty quick.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: There's no doubt. We obviously wouldn't be here. We wouldn't have made the ACC championship game if Syracuse beats us. We're definitely out of the Playoffs. But whenever I think about that drive, that game, I also think about where we were as a team.

Obviously it was a difficult time with the situation with Kelly. Then we had a loss of a former player, C.J. Fuller, and also all that going on at once.

Trevor getting hurt, really kind of that season being on the line. Obviously the fourth-and-six play was a huge play, Chase being able to go in and make that throw. What I really take away, I think it was a 13 play, 94-yard drive, when you have to have it. I think that says a lot about this team and says a lot about our offense.

In order to have the special year like we're having right now, you got to win those moments, and we did.

Q. Do you think Chase can do that on this kind of stage?
JEFF SCOTT: I do. I think one of the things we also took from that Syracuse game is that we had a lot of confidence in Chase. Chase has done excellent in practice. I think our offense feels very comfortable with him because of what he does on the practice field. I think that the Syracuse game really just kind of confirmed that for everybody, getting game experience.

Obviously we don't want anything to happen to Trevor, but we do feel very fortunate as an offense that we have two guys that can win for us if we need to. There's nobody that prepares harder than Chase as a backup to be ready for that role if that that happens.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I think, number one, they're a very physical team. They come out the gate very physical. I think that happened last year. I don't think we matched the physicality in the first quarter last year. Really kind of hurt us getting a little bit of momentum going.

Obviously they've got great coaches. They're going to have a great plan. Part of the first quarter is kind of a feeling out process, everybody feeling out each other. They've done a great job obviously.

For us this year, we kind of been a second quarter team. We've talked about that. A little bit of it, maybe you have a freshman quarterback. You still got some young guys on the offense. Even though they've been through a lot of battles, still kind of feeling your way out a little bit.

I remember that with Deshaun's group a little bit. Their freshman, sophomore year, got better as the game went. By Deshaun's junior year, we got off to some fast starts early. I think that comes with experience.

There's no doubt, we want to get off with a fast start. Two years ago, we were down 14-0 after the first quarter. There's lessons if you get in that situation, as well.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: First of all, before you even watch the video, you talk to anybody, he's the first guy that they mention. But on the video, his quickness, suddenness off the ball. He reminds us of a bigger Grady Jarrett. A D-line man tough to block up front, played with great leverage. I think Williams is bigger, taller than Grady. I think also he just has a really good knack of what you're doing up front, understanding how to defeat blocks, now how when people are double-teaming him how to split those.

We spent a lot of time watching video, trying to figure out ways to neutralize him as much as we can.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I mean, was it because of that game or was it because of where we were in the season? I think for us, once we made the decision that Trevor was going to start, then Kelly decided he was going to leave, then I think that really is when the complete -- it really wasn't a huge overhaul at all, but maybe where we were shifting our thoughts where we were going to be offensively. We were able to get him some rhythm, really kind of know who we are.

I think as Travis obviously made some big plays, we were able to figure out we could run the ball with him. But also, I think when you put a guy like Trevor back there that can make all the throws, it also gives you some favorable looks to run the ball.

That's kind of where we were. Seemed like every week, we were getting one or the other. It was not consistent. Some people were going to play us with two safeties, allow us to run the ball. The next week we ran the ball so well, we're not going to let you run it. The next week the opposite.

I think for us, just understanding that we can do both. We need to be able to do both. It's kind of like, How do you want it? Do you want it quick or slow? That's kind of our guys' mentality. Obviously in the world, RPOs, all that, it's really built into the call.

It all goes back to your quarterback making those decisions. No doubt, first couple games we were trying to figure out who we were a little bit, then we were able to get in our stride after Syracuse.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I mean, just the way that we think at Clemson is we think we're going to be better three years than we were now. That's just kind of the way our culture is, the way our guys think, the way our coaches thinks. Coach Swinney, head of our vision, he thinks that way. We always say that the best is yet to come.

There's a difference. If we win Monday night, all of a sudden we've won two out of the last three national championships. That's a lot different than being in the Playoffs and winning one. That kind of changes things.

I think also we're recruiting, the last two recruiting classes have been two of the best we've had since Coach Swinney has been at Clemson. We got an opportunity this year to come out to California and get a top wideout. Maybe reaching some areas we haven't done in the past.

Our mentality is that it's not easy to get here, but this is where we belong.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: No doubt. You obviously got to have a great defense. You have to have other players. But the quarterback is one of the key parts of that. I mean, I think that's a huge reason why we've been in the Playoffs the last four years, because of the type of guys we've had at the quarterback position.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Carter is a hard worker. He's done a great job just every day. Whatever you ask him to do, scout team, he goes and attacks the scout team reps just like our starters do over there with the varsity. Just has a great attitude, whatever it takes.

It's very difficult when you're working that hard, you don't get opportunities to play in games, to come ever day with that attitude that you want to get better.

We talk all the time about earning it. He definitely earned that scholarship. His teammates were very happy and excited for him.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: We do. We have a lot of them. We have a little farm system over there at Daniel.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: Well, in the coaching profession, coaches talk. We all have buddies that coach at other places. When you're at a place like Clemson working for a guy like Coach Swinney, you talk to other assistant coaches across the country, you're able to find out we got something special here, it's not like this everywhere.

I mean, just the way that Coach Swinney leads our program, he allows you to spend time with your family. Unfortunately, because college football is such a big business, there's some places where during the fall, football is what you do, who you are. That's never been the case at Clemson.

Also Coach Swinney allows you to have fun while you're coaching. I think there's something special about that. Some other places maybe... We still work extremely hard, but you're able to enjoy it, enjoy your players.

The best advice I've ever been given is, Don't mess up with happy. Right now our coaches are happy. Got a great place to work, great place to live.

It's not just Coach Swinney, it's our Board of Trustees, our president, athletic director. Just a very unique culture that we have where there's a very strong alignment. Everybody is on the same page. Everybody has a job to do. We're given the resources to go do our job. We just feel like we're in the middle of something really special.

So I think it's going to take a lot to pull coaches out of what we have right now.

Q. (No microphone.)
JEFF SCOTT: I think for us it's critical. I know there's other places that have had a lot of turnover, still have success. To me that's incredible, to be honest.

But I think for us, the chemistry we have, going into this ballgame offensively, this will be our seventh Playoff game, all five full-time coaches have been together. So we've been through these battles together. If we don't get off to the start we want, we have a little bit of adversity, we know how to correct it, communicate with each other. There's something very special in that.

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