For weeks fans have been clamoring for Clemson head coach to accept the responsibility for the Tigers disappointing offense through the season’s first six games.
While Swinney has in fact stated on multiple occasions throughout the season that the coaches need to do a better job, including himself, he did so once again during his Tuesday session with the media.
“Player performance is all on the coaches, it’s all on me,” Swinney said. “That’s just the way it is. I’m responsible for what you see. There’s nobody more frustrated than myself.”
There it is. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. However, say what you will about the game plans or play calling, there have been plenty of execution issues as well. Here is just one example of many throughout the season.
Regardless of where the blame lies, the fact remains that this Clemson offense has been stuck in neutral, and at times in reverse, all season long. And Swinney readily admits such.
“It’s just a stink, and we’ve got to get rid of it,” Swinney said. “It’s lingering in the car, and we’ve got to get rid of it.”
With the team being stuck in such a rut on the offensive side of the ball, Swinney thinks players have now started to press. Add in all the criticism from the outside world, and it’s just one more thing the team has to overcome as they get set for a road matchup with No. 21 Pitt this weekend.
“How else do you explain some of the things you see from some of our best players?” Swinney said. “I think it’s just kind of human nature, especially in today’s world. When I was coming up, somebody maybe wrote a bad article in the local newspaper, and that was about it. And you hoped your grandmother didn’t read it. You still had the people at the barbershop, but now all the people at the barbershop have a national forum. And all the media sees it.
“That’s all they get right now is how bad they are and how much their coaches stink, but that just comes with it. But as a young person, you’ve got to learn how to block that stuff out. Because if you don’t, you get burdened down, try to do too much, get outside of things and then you’re not playing free. The next thing you know, the weight of the world is on you. I don’t think there’s any question that this group offensively is burdened by disappointment, expectations and outside noise.”
With one of the season’s biggest matchups on deck, Swinney said there are things the coaching staff can do to help offset some of the pressing, as well as the outside noise. However, he also noted that part of it will be up to his players, and how they choose to respond to all the criticism.
“Who are you going to listen to, who are you going to believe?” Swinney said. “That’s your choice every single day. If you let that stuff in, it will affect you.”
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