Clemson won the game, that’s good. No major injuries, that’s good. The defense, clearly a stellar group, carried this team and that’s a mixed blessing but still good.
However, I feel a fundamental shift in the mindset of the majority of the fanbase. Sure, there’s anger, frustration and finger pointing but I sense something completely different…resignation.
By resignation, I’m not implying waving the preverbal white flag of surrender. No, even the most reasonable among us have resigned themselves to the belief, at this point, this is just not a championship caliber team. While it’s not what anyone wants to hear, it’s no less true.
Those of you, mechanically inclined, understands an engine, constantly in overdrive, overheats and begins to slow. This analogy is appropriate, after six years of unbridled success, regardless of the driver our offense has overheated and is showing it’s in need of repair. Again, mechanics know, it can be fixed and that is good.
Resignation, from my perspective, is another word for acceptance. Accepting Dabo Swinney is going to be Dabo Swinney, a good and decent man filled with colorful explanations, cheerful outlook and constant reassurances that “all is well.”
That’s his job, one he’s magnificently well suited. However, fans, those of us unwashed, seemingly ignorant masses want to know “truths.” The truth is that this is a different team, not just experiencing growing pains but rather entering a period of offensive stagnation.
We must accept that all things, sports and life are cyclical. What’s up must eventually, come down. Not down, never to rise again but down to reflect, rebuild, rethink and renew. The downward side of this cycle is uncomfortable, even painful but necessary.
This is where the “rubber meets the road” where this program is concerned. Everybody loves a comeback story, a feel good, rising up sort of story. We can and will be that story, you can bet on it. We’re not out, by any means, we’re too blessed with an embarrassment of riches, few deny this. The rising will come when we begin to use that wealth of talent, completely, differently.
The coaches we have are still some of the best ever assembled. The facilities are still among the best, anywhere. These young men are still among the most talented in all of the sport. There’s just too much greatness to ignore. However, there’s got to be something missing, right?
That something is more valuable than any trophy, more than any championship, it’s confidence and that doesn’t come quickly nor easily, it takes time. Then, as things improve and the games become fun again, as quickly as it seemed to have vanished, one day, confidence reappears and the rising will begin.
In spite of momentary frustrations, I will always be there, as will all the Clemson Family. After all, it’s what families do through thick and thin, win or lose…love and support each other and that thing we share the Clemson Tigers. That, after all, is the greatest of things.
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