For over a decade, Dabo Swinney's program at Clemson has been one of college football's most consistent programs.
From 2012 leading into the 2021 season, Clemson had lost more than two games just one other time. So when Clemson dropped games last fall to NC State and Pitt and struggled in some uncharacteristically close games throughout the year to end the season with three losses, fans voiced frustrations.
Three losses in 2021 and two losses in 2022 mean Clemson will miss the playoff for the second straight year and when years like that happen after being consistently spoiled with College Football Playoff trips for years, fan bases and local media tend to react as if the sky is falling.
Yesterday, during his weekly call-in show, Dabo Swinney was asked, in a rather roundabout way, about the absence of a passing game for the second season in a row and how it's "decision time" for Swinney and his program.
Swinney's response was a rant that will be remembered.
“Well, that’s what I get paid to do. All I can tell you is I’m gonna do my job, and if it comes a time where people don’t like how I do my job, then they can hire somebody else. But until then I ain’t ever gonna make decisions based on what other people want me to do. I can tell you that.
If I did that, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you tonight. And the reality is, we’re a 10-2 football team playing for our league title and one of the most consistent teams in the country."
"Every year is different. Nobody’s got their head in the sand. We’ve gotta get better in a lot of areas. But we know that. But if we wanna fire the head coach and fire the staff every year if we don’t make the playoff, then you’re going to have a new head coach here very often. And you’re gonna have a new staff here every year. Because that ain’t gonna happen a lot. There’s only four teams.
If that’s the mindset of Clemson, there will be a new head coach here, and there will be a new staff every year. And we’ll be a very mediocre, inconsistent program. That’s how I look at it."
As Dabo went on to share, he was around well before the fan base was accustomed to the type of winning they do lately.
"I get it. I know what my job is, and I’m going to do it. There’s nobody that works harder to represent Clemson and cares more about Clemson and the brand of Clemson than me. I promise you that, because I know where we’ve come from, and I know when we won that championship in 2011 it hadn’t happened in 20 years. We hadn’t won 10 games in 20 years.
Now we win 10 games and it’s like nobody cares. You go to the ACC championship…nobody cares. That’s not true. A lot of vocal minority people don’t care. But I ain’t ever listened to them people. And I ain’t ever gonna listen to those people. So I hear ya, but I’m gonna keep doing my job. Again, I’ve got bosses, and if they don’t like how I do my job then they can send me out to pasture, but I’m gonna show up every day and keep giving it everything I’ve got, every single day, as long as I’ve got breath in my body, and I’m going to surround myself with people that I believe in, because that’s what we’ve got here.
We’ve got a bunch of people and great kids that work their butt off to create the consistency that is so rare.”
Dabo's passio shines through in that answer, and there's little doubt that they'll get things back on the right track on the offense and with the passing game, after all, the Clemson offense ranked 84th nationally in passing this year, and was 103rd last season and everyone understands getting back to national relevance starts with getting that fixed.
Doug has been with FootballScoop for over a decade and currently serves as Director of Content. A former small college football player and college assistant, Samuels now serves as the head coach at Comstock Park HS (MI). He’s married with two kids and lives just south of Grand Rapids in Byron Center, MI.
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