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December 5, 2009

C.J. Spiller

Dabo Swinney


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.
It's 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.
I'm 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.
Third 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. But disappointing.
But 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.
With that, I'll take some questions.

Q. 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?
C.J. 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. Them 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.

Q. Dabo, it seemed like the game really came down to your inability to stop them. Is that kind of the way you saw it?
COACH 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.
And 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 key.

Q. No punts in the whole game. Did you expect it to be a shootout when you started?
COACH 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.

Q. 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?
C.J. 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.

Q. 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 huge plays.
C.J. 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.

Q. 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 Championship Game?
COACH 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 process.

Q. 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?
COACH 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.

Q. 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?
COACH 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 job tonight.

Q. 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?
COACH 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.
I'd 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.
Again, a lot of guys have never been here. Hopefully we can grow from this and get back here and finish the job.

End of FastScripts

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