CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Dabo Swinney and the Tigers take another step in the climb back up the proverbial mountain with spring practice starting Feb. 28.

Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected


by - Senior Writer -

The climb back up the mountain has been tough. Is the pinnacle in sight? Not yet, but progress is being made.

Heading into the 2020 season's College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, the Tigers were still one of the kings of the college football world. The loss to LSU the year before had soured some on Clemson, but the only regular season loss in 2020 was the 47-40 thriller at Notre Dame in a game in which starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence didn’t play.

But Ohio St. ran roughshod over the Tigers that night, rolling up 639 yards of total offense on the way to a 49-28 victory. The year prior, LSU rolled up 628 yards against Clemson in the National Championship, and some wondered if the program was in a state of decline.

They weren’t wrong – Clemson hasn’t returned to the Playoff since that night in New Orleans, and if you’re counting, that’s 1,146 days ago. And in that period, the game has changed dramatically. NIL is the new way of recruiting, and the transfer portal provides teams with a quick-fix solution.

I’ve had conversations with head coach Dabo Swinney several times since that night, and more than once we’ve talked about the climb back up the mountain. How people might have a better appreciation for it the second time around. How much harder it has become. How much sweeter it would be if it happened. And while it’s in my nature to be cynical – and the nature of the job at times – he’s never wavered from the belief that the Tigers will see the mountaintop again.

He cautions that winning it all can’t be the main goal, but if you do things the right way, take care of the rest of your business and receive some good injury luck also, good things will happen. However, Clemson has battled injuries, staff changes, and turnovers on the way to losing seven games over the last two seasons.

Questions abound, both nationally and locally, and people wonder just where this Clemson program stands. Elite? One of the top four or five teams in the country? Not at present. There have been too many breakdowns along the offensive line, at quarterback, and at wide receiver. A lack of explosive plays on offense has been an issue.

And the questions about all of that won’t be answered this spring. We won’t know the answers until next football season, when the games count. But progress is being made. Swinney made two staff changes in December – bringing in Chris Rumph to coach the defensive ends and Matt Luke to coach the offensive line.

The staff loves the 2024 recruiting class and feels that some of the issues have been addressed in recruiting.

But it’s the coaching changes that bring perhaps the most excitement. Swinney then went out and ensured his staff was paid like the ones that helped the team make six consecutive College Football Playoffs. After raises, the Tigers’ total assistant coach pay in 2024 will be $9.675 million, which should comfortably rank among the top 10, if not the top five, among college football programs nationally.

Clemson’s total assistant coach pay last season was $7.775 million, according to USA TODAY, which ranked No. 9 nationally. That’s a $1.9 million jump in total assistant coach pay for 2024.

All of his assistant coaches are now under contract through at least 2026.

For the first time in a while, it feels like things are on the right track. But climbing up the mountain isn’t always easy – I tell friends that a bucket list item of mine is to one day at least climb to Mt. Everest base camp. My friends remind me that I am old and out of shape, and that many motivated people with good equipment will forever lie frozen on that mountain. Sometimes you need a little luck along the way.

But this climb is off to a good start, and the next portion of the journey is spring practice. It won’t take Clemson to the pinnacle, but it’s another big step in the journey.

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Subject (Replies: 78) Author
spacer TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
TigerNet News®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Pig®
spacer It is the last 50 feet that is the toughest***
cu85tiger®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Just_Sayin
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
tigerdan75®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Summittiger
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
daveo79
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
tigerdan75®
spacer Recruiting Evaluations and COVID
Injun Tiger
spacer It is hard
tigerpride16
spacer Re: It is hard
jsebe10®
spacer Re: It is hard
secgrowa
spacer Partially because weve handcuffed ourselves!***
Clemson_Orange
spacer Buy not buying players and being loyal to current players. Yeah, that's awful***
johnstoneF3
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
AvTiger
spacer Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
Judge Keller®
spacer Tell 'em shill I
clemson80tiger
spacer Re: Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
OneJedi®
spacer Re: Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
NGATigr
spacer Re: Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
jsebe10®
spacer Re: Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
tdqtiger
spacer Re: Are you suggesting that there is something inferior about California players?
secgrowa
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Mk2
spacer Two things really hurt our local recruiting
TigersAndCubs
spacer Re: Two things really hurt our local recruiting
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Just_Sayin
spacer California also has much higher population than any southern state except
Orange®
spacer It has been a longer climb than expected,
Chemist08
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
Pig®
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
WisenTiger®
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
OneJedi®
spacer Theres nothing wrong with our coaching group.
CrustyTiger
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
Mk2
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
Summittiger
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
cufan®
spacer Re: It has been a longer climb than expected,
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Tigergirlga
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
jbs2108
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
tdqtiger
spacer COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
mpercy®
spacer Re: I do not think that it is fair
FORESTTIGER
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
OneJedi®
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
LeonTrotsky
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
LeonTrotsky
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
Mk2
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
LeonTrotsky
spacer Reeks of a lack of player development. Austin got fired for a reason.***
PACIFIC BEACH TIGER®
spacer Re: COVID impacts on recruiting cannot be overstated, I think
tigerrag86
spacer This is not a cynical question:
Come_and_take_it®
spacer Tell 'em nothing since 1969 coot. No one knows losing better than you.
clemson80tiger
spacer Re: This is not a cynical question:
tigerrag86
spacer Based on JK Logic, since we are now paying our Assistant Coaches AND our Head
76er®
spacer We all know youre being obtuse.
Judge Keller®
spacer Re: We all know youre being obtuse.
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
jstone D329
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
tigerrag86
spacer I had to laugh at DH calling himself 'cynical'
tigerrag86
spacer It's always gonna be tough when you're fighting w/ one hand behind your back.***
pheebo
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
clemvol
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Valley Boy
spacer The "Elite?" question will be answered on 8/31/24 in Atlanta.***
Razzmatazz
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
surroundedtiger
spacer Under NIL, it'll be nearly impossible for small, rural CU to win another natty.
Razzmatazz
spacer Re: Under NIL, it'll be nearly impossible for small, rural CU to win another natty.
tigerrag86
spacer Dude, UW is twice our size (23k vs 46k), with a $6.2B endowment vs our $1B.
Razzmatazz
spacer I think the main problem has been personnel mismanagement.
PACIFIC BEACH TIGER®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
QBVII
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Rally119®
spacer Portal players and juco transfers are not even close to being the same thing.
PACIFIC BEACH TIGER®
spacer Re: Portal players and juco transfers are not even close to being the same thing.
Rally119®
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
TigerJak74
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
secgrowa
spacer Re: TNET: Clemson's climb back up the mountain has been tougher than expected
Beebo87
spacer Agreed 100%.***
PACIFIC BEACH TIGER®
spacer Has IMG cut us off?
Injun Tiger
spacer Keep the Faith
cufan®