Justyn Ross
Xavier Thomas
Trevor Lawrence
Tanner Muse
Lyn-J Dixon
Clemson Football

Inside the Locker Room: Clemson players react to 24-10 win over Texas A&M

September 8, 2019
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CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY

Opening statement: 

“I’m really proud of everyone who played in today’s win. There’s a lot for us to build on. Guys accepted the challenge. It was a heck of a win today. This gives us really great momentum. Great teams get better as the season progresses. We’ll have an opportunity to go on the road and improve our team in ACC Atlantic play next week. I’m excited to see how we respond.”

On the offensive performance:

“Offensively, we left a little bit out there, but I thought that we controlled the game. We held the ball effectively. Our offensive line took over. I cannot say enough about those guys. Travis [Etienne] had a career-high in receiving yards, and Lyn-J [Dixon] was a spark for us. I’m really proud of them. That’s quite a 1-2 punch. [Tee] Higgins had another big day. [Justyn] Ross had a career-high in catches. [Trevor] Lawrence played the quarterback position extremely well today. He was gutsy, tough and showed a lot of great heart and leadership.”

On the defensive performance:

“We did a tremendous job of being well-positioned, and we made great plays on the ball. A.J. [Terrell] was tremendous. Nolan [Turner] missed a tackle in the first half but came back from that and made some great plays on the ball. [Tanner] Muse got another interception. Structurally, we did some great things. We did a nice job, assignment-wise. We put pressure on the ball. Our guys up front were ready for the challenge. They’re having fun playing defense.”

 

CLEMSON CO-OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TONY ELLIOTT

On the offensive game plan: 

“[Coach] Elko is one of the top [defensive coordinators] in the country and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. We played him at Wake Forest and we played him here the last couple years. He’s had all offseason and I thought the last time we played him down in College Station he did an unbelievable job of really being able to hone in on some of our tendencies, so early on we were trying to break some tendencies, cat and mouse, see how he was going to play us, not just line up.”

On Lyn-J Dixon’s performance:

With Travis’ success, everyone’s gunning for him, so whenever No. 9 is on that field they’re going to be honed in on him and the run game. So it was good for Lyn-J to be able to come in there and he made a lot of plays last year towards the end of the game, so maybe some people didn’t pay attention, but he’s an explosive guy and all he needs is a crease. So it was really, really good for him in this situation to come in and spark us.”

 

CLEMSON OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JEFF SCOTT

Opening Statement:

“[I’m] really proud of our guys. We knew it was going to be a battle, a four-quarter game. [In the] first quarter, we got off a little slow; we only had 11 plays. [I’m] really proud of the way our guys responded in the second quarter.”

On Amari Rodgers’ return:

“If you had asked me two weeks ago, I thought it was going to be October [until he returned]. He did exactly what he needed to do. To be honest, I’m not surprised knowing Amari because he’s an above-and-beyond type of guy. Even Coach Swinney and I didn’t think two weeks ago that he would be back, Amari said, ‘I’m going to be back; I’m going to show y’all.’”

 

CLEMSON DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRENT VENABLES

On using three safeties:

“Yeah, we’ve done a lot of dime packages through the years. We’ve had it every year, just some different tweaks and versions of it. That part was good today.”

On the secondary’s performance:

“It’s an experienced group. A year ago, three of the first four guys were starting in their first college game. It’s a seasoned group that has talent, length and pride. They took a lot of things that we talked about to heart.”

On late Texas A&M touchdown:

“That might have been our first bust where there was a missed assignment. I’m proud of our guys. They really had a great performance. They played with a great focus, passion and sense of desperation.”
 

CLEMSON QUARTERBACK TREVOR LAWRENCE

On his performance: 

“I think my decisions were good for the most part today. I underthrew a few balls, just got a little tight, I wish I had those back but I felt like decision-wise I played well.”

On playing Texas A&M:

“It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next one. Coach Swinney always says that and it’s true and that’s how we think about every game, but it was a big game. Last year a lot of people said it was lucky that we got out of there with a win so we wanted to leave no doubt this year.”

On the defense’s performance:

“It makes you a lot more confident and you can do some things where, if your defense is struggling you couldn’t do so, they played great. They played lights out. It was good to see them respond after they were challenged this week so it was awesome.”

 

CLEMSON RUNNING BACK LYN-J DIXON

On if he thought he would be the leading rusher for Clemson:

“I just kept [my] mind in it. [I] just [tried] to run hard. I give credit to my offensive line because they work they’re butt off every day in practice, and it showed out there on game day.”

On being in the same backfield as Travis Etienne:

“It’s a really good one-two punch. It really helps both of us out. It’s a real good thing.”

On getting meaningful carries:

“We’re all [held] to the same standard. No matter who goes out there, we all get held to the same standard. I just tried to keep my mind right and focus on what I had to do.”

 

CLEMSON SAFETY NOLAN TURNER

On level of confidence:

“All fall camp, we practice against one another. We got a great offense, so that builds a lot of confidence, during fall camp and throughout the season, getting to practice against such a great offense. We just try to play one play at a time and try to win every play.”

On responding after the missed tackle:

“I missed that one tackle, but like I said, I just try to play each play one at a time and try to win every play. I lost that one, but you just [have] to put it behind you and keep playing hard.”

On secondary’s performance:

“We had to come in here, be focused, and do our job, and I think we did it pretty well tonight.”

 

CLEMSON WIDE RECEIVER JUSTYN ROSS

On his touchdown reception:

“He started scrambling so I had to find a way to get open and if you’re open, Trevor’s going to find you.”

On being tested early:

“It just shows how much of a team we are because a lot of teams go back and forth and if they’re not scoring they give up, but not us. We just kept going.”

On the importance of this game for him:

“I didn't really do anything against them [last season]. They don’t really know me so I had to go out there and prove a point.”

 

CLEMSON DEFENSIVE END XAVIER THOMAS

On his ankle injury:

“It’s doing good, I just rolled it. I thought it was my knee at first, but then I realized what was really going on so I just rolled my ankle and it’s just sprained right now… When I went down it was pretty scary I thought it was my knee at first like I said, but I realized it was my ankle and I just told them to put some tape on it so i could go back out there and play for my team.”

On the defensive gameplan:

“We did have a lot of flexibility in our defense, so we just went out there and showed them different looks to confuse the offensive coordinator and the quarterback out there so 4-3, 3-4, stuff like that.”

On his sack:

“It felt real good because I thought I wasn't going to be able to play at first, but I went back out and was able to go full speed so it felt good.”

 

CLEMSON SAFETY TANNER MUSE

On his brother Nick playing his first game for South Carolina tonight. 

“Yesterday my mom called me around 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock or so, but right then I was super excited for him and I texted him and told him how happy I was for him.”

On the secondary’s emergence:

It’s never been off and on, this and that, all the outside noise doesn't matter to us. We get it all the time. It’s always gonna fall on the back end and we know that as a secondary and we’re fine with that. We’ll take the heat, but then we’ll show up on Saturday and play to the best of our ability.”

On the defensive performance:

“We expect to make all the plays, that’s just how our defense is under Coach [Venables]. He expects to have either tackle for loss, sack, pick, we gotta be there. That’s how we prepare and I think the biggest thing for me is seeing Nolan [Turner], K’Von [Wallace], Denzel [Johnson], Isaiah [Simmons], the guys I’m right beside in the film room and seeing them make plays, just so much joy comes through me and I just want to help them celebrate the best I can.”


You can hear from Jimbo Fisher, Kellen Mond, and Buddy Johnson on TexAgs.com

TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH JIMBO FISHER

Opening Statement

“Congratulations to Clemson. They played a very good football game. [They’re a] very physical, good football team. [They] made the critical plays when they had to make the critical plays. Our guys, I thought we played hard. I didn’t think we played particularly well at times. I thought they did a good job mixing and matching some things, we made adjustments, and had opportunities to make plays. I mean, you gotta make critical plays at critical moments to keep pressure going back and forth in the game. Early, we had kind of… we had a couple… we had a drop on the first play, we had a miss on the second play. In the second, we’re up 3-0, we get a good drive, they drive back and score, and then we’re moving it again and create a turnover. Our defense did a good job. Transition defense gave up a field goal and unfortunately, we gave up a 90-yard drive right there before half, which was critical. But then [we] came out and played well defensively and offensively. We got a couple first downs on some things and then just didn’t get it going. Then, we had a really good drive and we missed a block on the backside. [We] had a chance to score with 10 minutes to go, get it to a two-score [game], 20-14, you’re still in the ballgame. But then, I give our kids credit. We kept playing, we played hard. They’re a good football team. We have a good football team but we have to play better and I have to coach better and that’s on me to get them in the right positions at the right time and make sure they know what’s going on and play better, because we have a good team. Like I said, they’re a good team, and so, we just didn’t play well enough today and didn’t do what we needed to do.”

On QB Kellen Mond

“Well, I thought he started off… you know, he had a couple throws early that… he couldn’t get in a groove. We dropped one off the bat and then we missed one. And you know, just a hair high here. And then, he started getting in a groove and then we lacked some protection, but he kept battling and playing well. I didn’t think he was in sync early, just a hair off. When he was in sync, we were dropping the ball, or as an offense, we were out of sync and he kept battling and played hard.”

On if defense played well enough to win

“We didn’t win so there ain’t no offense, defense, one side good enough. Texas A&M didn’t play well enough to win the game. As a team, you do whatever you have to do. I thought we played really well at times on defense. We played well, we played physical. Then, we gave up some big plays at times on a big drive, but I thought they had their moments; the offense had their moments. We gotta play better as a team.”

On if cramps were a problem

“No.”

On halftime adjustments

“We made a lot of adjustments, our blocking scheme. We moved the ball for over 200 yards in the second half. Defensively, we held them to one touchdown. The other plays that they made, we had a guy come out of coverage on a scramble and if he stays back, I don’t know if we make it, but that’s what good players do. Their players made good plays. There were a lot of adjustments on how we schemed, on how we blocked, on how we moved it, and then we just couldn’t finish drives.”

 
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