For most, Dabo Swinney is a fairly likeable guy.
The Clemson head coach is personable and genuine. He’s also one of the best coaches in the country and in my experience, football coaches tend to have egos.
After the 2021 season that saw his team drop three games and his offense be surprisingly inconsistent, it’s safe to to assume Swinney and his Tigers enter the 2022 season with a massive chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
Add in Brandon Streeter, Wes Goodwin, as well as Kyle Richardson stepping into pivotal on field assistant roles for the first time since joining the program, and there are a lot of people inside that building who might feel like they have something to prove.
Back to the head coach, though. There were many that cover the team saying Swinney just seemed different back in the spring. Like there had been a reset within the program, with the head coach looking rejuvenated.
And as nice, personable and genuine as he is, deep down, like most coaches, he doesn’t like to lose. There is another side to the coach that loves to talk about the fun being in the winning.
I’ve seen that other side described as ‘Scorched Earth Dabo’ or ‘Spiteful Dabo.’ It’s a side that hasn’t been seen very often, but it’s there. We have seen it in games against South Carolina. We saw it when he sent the entire first team offense back out late in a lopsided game against Georgia Tech just to drive it straight down the field for a touchdown.
After all the talk about his program being on the downward trend and after hearing some of the comments from the ACC Kickoff, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s a side we will see again in 2022. And say what you will about the quarterback, Swinney did seem awfully confident in all of his appearances in Charlotte.
For me personally, October 1 is a date I have circled on the calendar. It’s the day NC State visits Death Valley. The relationship between Swinney and Doeren has been well documented over the years. Add in the Tigers losing to the Wolfpack for the first time in the Swinney era last season in Raleigh and this is a game I see Clemson being highly motivated to make a statement in.
Who knows, maybe we see ‘Scorched Earth Dabo’ starting Week 1 in Atlanta against Georgia Tech. Maybe not, but I fully believe we see him at some point and probably multiple times. Something that should make for a fun and very interesting season.
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