When things aren’t going well for college football teams, the first thing to typically happen is for fans to start calling for jobs.
With Clemson sitting at 4-3, things are no different for Dabo Swinney at the moment. Fans have been calling for heads to roll for weeks and after the Tigers most recent loss at Pitt, the head coach was asked about that very subject and if he was considering any staff changes over the offseason.
“Hopefully if I’ve done anything, I’ve demonstrated over 13 years as a head coach, I think we’ve been a model of consistency, on and off the field,” Swinney said. “So, hopefully, like I said, we’ve earned a little bit of trust. Again, you have every right to be disappointed. I’m disappointed. Everybody’s disappointed. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a situation like this.”
Ironically, for years, the continuity of the Clemson coaching staff is one of the things that has been credited for the Tigers success in recent seasons. That stability makes the school a destination spot for many recruits, as has Swinney’s always positive outlook, and despite the disappointing season, the head coach is remaining optimistic.
“But I have been in situations like this, and I know what we’re made of,” Swinney said. “I know what I’m made of and I know what these kids are made of, and we will grow through it. We will. And we’ll get back to winning some ball games, and hopefully that’ll make us appreciate it even more when we get back to that time. Because it’s coming.”
Swinney reminded fans that not so long ago, the same ones calling for coaches to be fired were probably the same ones calling for him to be fired back before the six consecutive playoff appearances and two national titles.
“Well, those were a lot of the same people that probably wanted me fired after the first couple years, wanted my strength coach fired and all those things,” Swinney said. “If I start running this program by listening to people outside, then I’ll probably be one of them pretty quick.”
As for what the plan is moving forward, Swinney maintains that right now staying the course is what’s needed. He also said that this isn’t the first time his program has experienced disappointment, and noted that it likely won’t be the last.
“Again, continue to get better, continue to recruit, continue to get some players back,” Swinney said. “Not making any excuses. We’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t with us that eventually we’ll get back. Again, in the long run, we’ll look back on this really disappointing time just like I can look back on some other disappointing times over the last 13 years and I can see how we grew from it. And that’s always a choice. For me, I’ll show back up tomorrow and get back at it. There’s no quit in me, there’s no quit in this staff and we’re going to focus on trying to win this game this week. That’s all we can do.”
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