SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Urban Meyer and Dabo Swinney stand hours away from leading their teams out of the University of Phoenix Stadium tunnel in the Fiesta Bowl.
No. 3 Ohio State and No. 2 Clemson kick off on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. But first Meyer and Swinney teamed up for one final press conference ahead of their second career coaching matchup.
- Meyer said he has spoken to his players about the 2014 team and the template used to win the first-ever College Football Playoff: "The thing that happened during that run, every team that wins a championship is going to have a group of players step up and make plays that make a difference."
- Meyer said he saw Bob Davie on Thursday, who he worked for at Notre Dame: "He's one of the best coaches of all-time ... I appreciate what he helped me do for my family."
- Asked about the Peach Bowl against Alabama and Washington and if they will watch it, both coaches said they won't have time. Swinney: "If you see any of it, it's just briefly back in your room before you leave." Meyer joked how he "wasn't sure there was a Playoff game before ours."
- On the core values he tells his team before each game, Meyer stressed the 4-6, A-B mentality he preaches at all other points of the season. Swinney joked: "You mean it's not the lucky underwear?" Meyer: "No, but I won't say I won't wear any."
- After Meyer mentioned the 4-6, A-B mentality for his players, Swinney said he read the Ohio State head coach's book, Above The Line: "4-6, A-B, all that. Think that's great."
- Swinney on star quarterback Deshaun Watson: "The best thing about him is how he is behind closed doors. He's a great person who just happens to be a great football."
- "You feel confident when you have better players than your opponent, it's not rocket science to figure that ... but the margin for error is going to be very, very slight." — Meyer on the game against Clemson.
- Asked about players skipping out on bowl games to prepare for the NFL, Swinney said if a guy wants to do that they shouldn't even play their senior year: "You can get hurt in any game.”
- On his annual trips to Nike with Swinney and the memories shared there, Meyer said, "what happens at Nike stays at Nike." He then acted like he was locking his lips up and threw away the key.
- Meyer recalled his knees starting to shake 10 years ago when he coached Florida to his first national title against Ohio State in 2006: "We ran a bubble screen to Percy Harvin late in that game and he narrowly picked up the first down and I thought, 'Even we can't screw this up.'"
- Swinney: "Right now it seems like a lot of guys, when we're recruiting them, Ohio State is always in the mix."
- Meyer: "The journey to build is exhilarating and enthusiastic. Staying up there, it's a grind. To say that's not real, Dabo is going to find out about it the more success he has ... People get upset when you go to the Sugar Bowl. What are you talking about?"
- Swinney said he doesn't want to run a program that when it wins, it is a relief: "Sometimes you lose too. And that's OK. Did we bust our butt? That's important. And we are dealing with young people ... to me, you start over every year and re-install your core values of your team."
- "Hopefully we can have an opportunity to lift that trophy up but they don't give those away, man. You gotta earn it." — Swinney.