10 questions with C.J. Spiller

CLEMSON - C.J. Spiller talks about the start to the season and previews Maryland in this report.

How do you feel about the loss to TCU now a few days after the fact?
Spiller: We got beat. We've still got a lot on the table, but of course we would have liked to win the game; it would have helped us out from a national perspective. But I do understand that this loss didn't ruin our ACC chances. We're about to get ready for Maryland and that's a divisional game. If you want to get to the championship game, you have to win divisional. That's why we can't just dwell on TCU because that does us no good at all. We have to put that behind us and move forward.

You had a touchdown called back in the game against Maryland last year, as you did on Saturday. What were you thinking when the play under review, did you feel like you had put the ball away?
Spiller: I thought we had, yeah, I mean if we had scored right there we would have put the game away. I think we would have had a little different of a story for our season, but the ref called what he saw and had to go with it. And then they just made that extra play they needed to make and they came out with the victory.

Would you say your expectations coming back for your senior year were to be the centerpiece of this offense?
Spiller: No. I came back to have fun and to graduate. I didn't come back to try to be the centerpiece of the offense, I know I got a great support team to help me. I worked hard in the off-season and Coach Swinney and Coach Napier are doing a great job. So that really has nothing to do with why I came back. I came back to play with my teammates and put the ball in the endzone. That's my spotlight right now.

Did you feel any different, physically, Sunday morning after carrying 26 times?
Spiller: I mean I was a little sore, but not any more than I was after the Boston College game. They played physical, but people are always going to underrate my physical play because of my size. But it was great to hear some of the guys from TCU come up and tell me how physical I was playing. That gave me a whole lot of confidence going into this week's game.

So do you feel capable of making 26 carries like consistently?
Spiller: I knew all along I could carry the ball 26, I've done it before. My body held up. I probably got a little winded at the end after playing a lot of plays, something we really didn't want to have to do. But other than that, I'm fine and working through my injury. My foot feels fine, it's getting better each day.

"I think we're a lot closer now. If anyone wants to come in and watch the film and think that teams are beating us, they'll be proven wrong. Not to take away anything from the teams we've played, but we're really just hurting ourselves."
This team's record is currently at 2-2. What's to keep fans hopeful and from comparing this season to seasons in the past?
Spiller: I think we're a lot closer now. If anyone wants to come in and watch the film and think that teams are beating us, they'll be proven wrong. Not to take away anything from the teams we've played, but we're really just hurting ourselves. We have penalties here and a guy not doing his assignments there, that's part of what's caused us from being 4-0. But it's been great to see our fans stick it out with us against TCU out there in the rain. Last week a lot of fans left, but it's great to see everyone stick it out with us. We just have to keep believing and they can't give up on us. It's still early and we still have a lot on the table left to play for. There's only two losses, so we have to keep taking one game at a time and I think that's what we plan to do.

Is there a different energy in the locker room right now compared to last year around this time, coming out of the Wake Forest and Maryland games?
Spiller: Oh yeah. After each of our losses I think everyone is disappointed but at the same time everyone's not really down because we knew we had the opportunity to win both of those games. That's the sense that I get from our team because we know that we can win, but we just have to go out there and do it now. I think if we just keep encouraging each other and keep believing, and stop pointing fingers and getting jealous of each other, we'll be fine throughout the season.

Your comments after the game the other night were pretty bold about where you see this team's position right now, do you think that opinion has permeated throughout the roster for the other guys as well?
Spiller: Yeah, a lot of guys came up to me and I guess they were kind of waiting for someone to say that. After playing an elite team like TCU, I talked of our team being very capable of being in the top 10-15 in the country, and I think our guys believe that. If we could have corrected those mistakes that led to both of those losses, we could probably be sitting here top 10 right now. So we have those losses and now we have to more forward. We have to correct those mistakes and stop letting the same thing beat us twice.

You're only 65 yards away from being the all-time leader in all purpose yards in the ACC. What does that mean to you at this point in your career?
Spiller: I mean it's wonderful. All the credit goes to the guys who have blocked for me. I just use my speed and make the proper plays. All those guys do the hard work. I haven't really paid much attention to it. Coach Swinney and Tim do a great job of keeping up with that, but I guess probably once I do it, it will sink in more than it has. I'm just focusing on how to help my team win and getting them back on track to having a successful season.

What's the overall mentality of the team right now after Saturday?
Spiller: Everything is still on the table. We've still got our division, the ACC, and we still have to get to a bowl game. But the main thing we have to do is take it one game at a time. We can't look ahead and talk about toughness; we can't look over Maryland. This is tough team and we're going to be going out there and playing another physical game. These guys are going to be blitzing from everywhere, so it's going to be similar to how it was in '06 with GT. We have to be ready to go, especially going into a hostile environment. I think as long as we take this one game at a time, we'll be fine.

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