I certainly don’t read minds, nor have an insider’s view. However, as an interested observer, I imagine these points are just a part of Dabo Swinney’s rebuilding plan going forward.
In order of immediacy, here are some thoughts.
1. Every medical professional knows you must stop the bleeding to stabilize the patient. Swinney has already started this but it might take a while. He will remind fans, there’s plenty of the life blood of this program still pursing through the veins of his Tigers, never fear.
2. To assess the player situation, whose going and whose staying, taking stock of what’s left. Again, he’s already begun this and suspect soon he will have a clearer picture of what form his team will take going forward.
3. Keep as much continuity in place as possible. Understanding, more than anyone, he knows the value of what’s worked. I suspect, he will make filling on-field assistants and support staff openings from within, first. Swinney is a deliberate man, he makes few rash, spur of the moment decisions. So, he will seek and find the best available people, the best fit and thoughtfully add them to his staff.
4. At this point, make sure the committed recruits stay in the 2022 class. I can see, he and staff are doing that. While I have no knowledge of such, it would not surprise anyone to see the addition of a few pleasant, surprise commitments to the class before the upcoming National Signing Day in February, maybe even before ESD on Wednesday.
5. Bowl preparations. I believe Swinney, along with Brandon Streeter, Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn, will create a very bold and aggressive game plan. They will take stock of the pieces left and use them and their attributes to the best plan for the team’s success. As an astute, accomplished coach, Swinney is well aware that momentum heading into the spring will go a long way towards the success of the 2022 season. This team, this program needs a victory, I believe they will get it. This is so reminiscent of 2014. Fans hope the Tigers will have the same result as then.
6. Quell the angst within the fanbase. Silence is a necessity in times like these and the least important cog in this plan is to inform the Clemson Family. There is a time and a place for everything and only Swinney knows when this reassuring will take place. Be patient. He will speak to the media on Wednesday, if not before.
7. Stick firmly to the culture he has built. Dabo will explore the options that lies within the transfer portal but only he knows if and when to use it. Most believe he will only use it sparingly to fill specific depth needs. There are a few right now.
8. Just be Swinney. Drive the R.O.Y. Bus for “little ole Clemson” as long as need be. Turn the narrative by many that Clemson’s prominence is faltering. Take the initiative, seize the moment and change perceptions. He’s a master at this, the CFB world needs constant reminding and Swinney is that reminder.
9. Firmly and very carefully, remind the vocal, divisive members of the fanbase, he and his staff alone leads this program. Like a benevolent, kind but stern father, he should make the point, fans must either follow and support or try to remain quiet. The noise is a constant distraction.
I have to believe these nine points are just a few of the steps Swinney could implement to move this program forward. For fans, it’s a matter of trust tempered with realistic expectations. Like the Six Million Dollar Man, Swinney can rebuild this program and build it better, stronger than before. Who am I to question those that say glibly, “Dabo has got this.” He’s more than proven his ability to do just that.
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