SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day held their final media availability on Friday, taking part in a joint press conference. The two coaches answered questions about their respective teams and the preparation that got them here. Here are the highlights.
+ Ditto from everything he said yesterday. It’s been a good week of preparation and practice. The hotel has been awesome. There’s not much else to say that hasn’t already been said.
+ Tremendous respect for Ohio State. The teams are mirror images. The teams like each other and that resonates on film.
+ “It is a national championship game because if you don’t win it, you ain’t going to the national championship game.” They have been in a playoff all year long. “Anybody can beat anybody” in this playoff. Both teams here are built in the trenches with dynamic playmakers. “It’s a pretty special matchup.”
+ The defensive identity didn’t change this year, but the strengths changed a bit and so they had to change with them. Having a guy like Isaiah Simmons, they were able to do some different things with their defense than in years past. And it gave them time to develop the young defensive line.
+ The best is yet to come for Clemson. That is his mindset.
+ The first punt tomorrow is planning to be a fake and the timing has gotten better over the last week.
+ The punt is huge. It’s hidden yardage. They haven’t had to flip the field much this season, but they will have to do that this year. They need to end every drive with a kick.
+ “They don’t vote anymore. You’ve got to earn this one.”
+ Swinney isn’t in favor of expanding the playoffs. “The best team has won every single year.”
+ He would much prefer this game be on January 1 and have consistency with that. He’d rather be home for Christmas.
+ This has been a really great week for the guys. The guys are getting ready to play and getting tired of practicing. They want to play. It’s an honor to play a team like Clemson. Defending national champs.
+ Coming off of the three games at the end of the year, it’s great to give guys rest the last couple of weeks and get healthy.
+ He would be in favor of moving the Heisman voting after the bowl season because the script isn’t completely written yet.
+ Justin Fields is doing great.
+ Jonah Jackson was the perfect guy at the right time. It’s hard to walk into a new room as a fifth-year senior. The entire room embraced him. The offensive line came together stronger than any offensive line he’s seen.
+ Clemson DC Brent Venables is one of the best defensive playcallers in the nation. “We’ve had a great week of practice, we’ll just have to adjust as the game goes on.”
+ Day would also prefer having this game on January 1. It was a challenge to rest the guys and then prepare them for this game, but it was the same for Clemson.
+ There is a lot of hype that goes into this game, but the only thing that matters is what happens Saturday night.