THE MODERATOR: We will let Coach McClendon open up with a few statements, then we'll take questions.
COACH McCLENDON: I'll say this. Just like I told the team the very first time I had a meeting with them, I told them, I said, Going to be a lot of stuff written about me, a lot of stuff written about who stays, who left, who is coming in, quite frankly, but in my opinion, not enough written on the individuals that makes this team up. That's what's made it special.
These guys have done a job, in my opinion, second to none, in regards to being able to block out so much stuff and really realize exactly what football is for, to be honest with you.
I think football was made for men to understand that they need to work hard and work hard for each other and put other individuals over themselves. That's what these guys did.
Opposed to the light guy in this room, I think they understand the importance of it every day (laughter). But I couldn't be more proud of these guys. I really can't. I'm proud of these guys. Obviously after that, I'll kind of open it up for questions.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. ON REFLECTING ON TIME AT GEORGIA AND MOVING ON TO SOUTH CAROLINA
COACH McCLENDON: I'll say this. It definitely is bittersweet. This business is about people and relationships, that's what it's made up of. You build relationships with so many people. I mean, I've spent more time with Terry Godwin than I have with my own kids throughout the season. That's the God's honest truth.
You pour so much into these kids' lives. That's what makes the decisions hard when it comes to the business side of it. That's why it's been very easy for me to be able to keep that part away from it and just focus on guys like Terry, other guys that make up this team.
But it is, it's good. The bottom line is this, just like I tell these players, the University of Georgia has been playing football a long, long time before Bryan McClendon or Terry Godwin or whoever it may be. It's more than likely going to keep on way after I'm dead and gone.
It's a lot bigger than me, you know. We've been able to keep it about the G and these guys.
Q. ON LEARNING ABOUT YOURSELF AND BEING A HEAD COACH
COACH McCLENDON: I think everybody gets into this business saying (indiscernible), it makes you appreciate head coaches. But more so than that, it makes you appreciate the people that you have to have around you. Everybody's got to be able to teach everything to these young men, like we were able to do.
But definitely, to answer your question.
Q. ON BEING A WIDE RECEIVER AND THROWING A TOUCHDOWN PASS
TERRY GODWIN: I mean, it was pretty exciting to come out there and throw my first college touchdown. We've been working on that play all week, before we got here and this week. It feels good he had trust in me to call it.
COACH McCLENDON: If you would have seen how he threw it this past Thursday, you would have been scolding me why we said to call it.
No, it was something we knew Terry was good at and we felt he could execute. Was lined up in a formation earlier that game. Actually the first time Terry touched the ball was in that formation when we ran the quarterback sweep with him just to see if it was there. They swore up and down that it was there. I didn't look because I was looking at the blocking.
Again, it's why you have to trust the people that are around you. They said it was there. As long as it looks like it's there, we're going to call it.
Q. ON THE CALL TO GO FOR IT ON 4TH DOWN LATE IN THE GAME
COACH McCLENDON: Well, our kicker got hurt. Our place kicker got hurt. We went for it a little bit. We had tried the field goal around that same yardage a little bit earlier. We missed it, quite frankly. I knew it was a very pivotal time in the game.
I knew if we had gotten a first down, we had ran a play, that play before, we knew if we had gotten a first down, you know, without anything crazy happening, then the game would be over. They didn't have any way to stop the clock, so we would have been able to kill the rest of the time.
They out-executed better than we did on that play, quite frankly. I mean, it was just one of those things that you had to do. If Marshall was there, we probably would have kicked the ball. We probably would have kicked the field goal.
Probably? We would have kicked the field goal. But he wasn't, so we kind of had been moving the ball early, running the football, that's why we decided to go for it.
Q. ON PLAYING AGAIN AFTER THE PREVIOUS MONTH’S DISTRACTION
TERRY GODWIN: It's brought the team closer and all the coaching staff that's here closer. We blocked all that out.
Just to come here and play as one and get the win, it felt real good.
Q. ON SCORING 17 IN FIRST HALF AND OVERALL TEAM EFFORT
COACH McCLENDON: I thought John today did a great job. But I thought all the coaches, just in general, special teams, offensively, defensively. They did a great job of making sure of coming up with a good, solid plan that we could execute. A lot of the plan has to be, Will it work? Not so much how well does it draw up, but can your kids do it.
It's the old coaching adage, it's not about the X's and the O's, it's about the Jimmys and the Joes. That's a lot of it.
You have to make sure that you're able to run and be successful in whatever those guys called. I thought both he and Kevin and Todd and Carter all did a great job overall just coming up with a plan.
Q. ON PASS TO MALCOLM MITCHELL
TERRY GODWIN: As the play developed, I saw the safety come up a little bit. I knew he was going to be wide open. I had to launch it and make sure I got it to him in time.
Q. ON BEING THE PLAYMAKER FOR GEORGIA
TERRY GODWIN: I think so. I think the coaches believe in me enough to put the ball in my hands to make a play. I believe that's what they're going to do in the future. That's what they have done in the past.
Q. ON TERRY GODWIN
COACH McCLENDON: I'll say this. I said this all along. Certain guys are born to do certain things. I really believe this. I believe Terry Godwin was born to played wide receiver. Just the natural things that he can do movement-wise, getting open, how he naturally catches the football. For a guy of his stature, not many guys have the length that he has, long arms, big hands. He's able to make traffic catches and focus in on the ball.
The biggest place he has matured is him being so daggum silly at times. The one thing I will say that I think every great player has, they have the ability to come in and understand there's so much room to go, and every day is a process of getting to that point.
That's what I think he's come up with the most. I think he understands the importance of every single practice, the importance of every single play. You know, I was on him all the time when I first got him, I said, Hey, man, you can't be cool, be good. So let's not try to go out there and just be cool, look the best, everything else. Let's go out there, put all your effort and energy in becoming the best player you can be.
That's what he's done. That's why you've seen him grow in the passing game and running game and every other game I think we've had. Because we put more on him than any other player offensively. He has to learn quarterback stuff, zone read stuff, things like that.
Q. ON LEARNING FROM THIS GEORGIA TEAM AND COACHES
TERRY GODWIN: Just coming in and learning from some of the upperclassmen, growing up under Coach McClendon's wing. I feel like I've learned a lot coming from high school, learning the offense, deal with all the adversity that's hit me.
Q. ON SENDING OFF SENIORS AND COACHES
TERRY GODWIN: I mean, it was all about him and the seniors, come in and get their 40th win, let him leave on a high note.
Q. ON THE JOB THE COACHES HAVE DONE TO KEEP THE PROGRAM MOVING FORWARD IN INTERIM
TERRY GODWIN: I mean, they've done a great job. At practice, all the guys, we're all there having fun, flying around, going to the ball. It showed up in the game.
The coaches believe in all of us, so it gives us the opportunity to go out there and make plays.
Q. ON HOLDING NASSIB WITHOUT A SACK
COACH McCLENDON: Huge. He's such a disruptive guy, that defensive front is really effective and good. Anytime you have a great player, you would not be very smart to just disregard him. Just like any other great player that I think you go up against, you have to make sure the game plan curtails ways to shake them up or take them out of the game, so to speak.
It goes in with everything else, the guys doing a great job of game planning, understanding kind of where he was going to be, tendencies he may have had, doing a good job of game planning around those.
Q. ON NOT HAVING TO DOUBLE TEAM NASSIB
COACH McCLENDON: No, we really didn't. We really didn't. A lot of great pass-rushers, you know, they anticipate snap counts and stuff well. As far as mixing up snap counts, where he's second-guessing himself, not getting off as fast, or mixing up different looks to having a guy line up over there where he thinks he's going to get a chip, he rushes a little bit different. So understanding things like that is I think what helped, too.
Q. ON HOW QUICK YOU MAKE THE TRANSITION TO COLUMBIA, SC
COACH McCLENDON: It's going to be quick. I'll say this, I'm going to enjoy this tonight. I am. I'm going to enjoy this tonight. That's the plan. After that, I'll kind of let it go from there.
Q. ON THE RECEIVING CORPS FOR NEXT YEAR WITHOUT MALCOLM MITCHELL
TERRY GODWIN: I feel like the receiving corps without Malcolm, it's going to be the same. We're just going to have to have more young players step up and fill big shoes. I feel like my role is the same. Going to help the team do whatever we can.
Q. ON DEFENSIVE PERFORMANCE IN GAME
COACH McCLENDON: Those guys have played well, just like they played all year. Done a great job of tackling overall. I mean, we knew those guys were going to be able to throw and catch very well.
Obviously after Hackenberg kind of went down, the other guy came in. The two touchdown catches, they were just right on the point. I mean, those guys, just like I tell these guys, those guys are on scholarship, too. They get coached up very well, too. Those guys are just as talented, as well.
We understand that those guys are going to make plays. As long as we can do everything that we can to kind of prevent that, and if you number those big plays, especially on a team like this, that gives you a better chance to win the game.
Q. ON OFFENSIVE PLAY CALLING AND SUBSTITUTIONS
COACH McCLENDON: Well, you have to be ready. You have to be ready. You have to be ready for kind of all of those situations.
But really proud of those two guys being able to kind of shoulder the load versus a defense like this, be as effective as they were. Proud of these guys for doing that.
Q. ON NEXT YEAR PLAYING AGAINST GEORGIA
COACH McCLENDON: I'll say this. These guys know. Just like any other week, when I'm working, they going to get all I got, do the best I can, make sure my guys are ready to play.
Just like I did with these guys, all my effort and energy will be in those guys. I'm pretty sure these guys going to get a coach where it's going to be the exact same thing.
It's hard to get a bad coach here at the University of Georgia. It really is. Those guys have nothing to worry about in that regard. Just like I said, I mean, Georgia was here way before I was here. It will be here after I leave, so...
Q. ON DIFFICULTIES PREPARING FOR GAME DESPITE CIRCUMSTANCES
COACH McCLENDON: Wasn't many. The biggest difficulties, in my opinion, just kind of trying to oversee everything was guarding these guys' eyes and ears so to speak on what is being written out there.
The receivers were kind of used to it all year long. Every meeting we start with some kind of character error, trying to get their mind right for a few minutes when I show them a short film, a quote, read a short story to them or something. I did that every day with the team.
We had a team meeting every single day just focusing on why you work hard, why you work together, things like that. Those guys, they took to it. Those guys took to it and understood exactly why I was doing what I was doing. They understood.
I said this in the first meeting with those guys. Everybody in this room was there for them. So as long as the players were constantly focused, it made everything else really easy. It really did.
Q. ON BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF PER YOUR DAD’S ADVICE
COACH McCLENDON: I did. I think I did. He's referring to what my dad told me when I first got named the interim head coach here at Georgia. He said, You know, you got to that point just by being yourself, so don't try to be Mark Richt, any of these other successful coaches out there in college football. Just be Bryan, do things right, because that's how you got to that point.
These guys can tell you that I was me. These guys could tell you out there at practice, I may have said the same message, but maybe not the same exact way Coach Richt would have said some things to the team.
I thought I did. I thought I did.