Swinney is keeping track of those doubting DJ Uiagalelei
|Monday, September 13, 2021, 9:43 PM-|
Dabo Swinney is taking down names of those doubting that Clemson's starting quarterback will live up to the hype.
Through two games, DJ Uiagalelei has faced a top-level defense in Georgia and an FCS-level foe in SC State to rank 104th nationally in passing efficiency (101) and 102nd in completion percentage (54.1) according to NCAA statistics.
Monday, Swinney was asked if he was concerned about Uiagalelei's play, and he quickly dismissed the idea.
"Guys have moments here and there," Swinney said after recalling some turnover issues for Deshaun Watson at one point. "But if you’re asking me if I’m worried about DJ, the answer is a capital N-O. He is special. When you’ve got a guy who is as talented as he is, that cares as much, loves to prepare, super-smart and so coachable -- you’re just going to get better and better and better. Just going through a little process. I think everything is magnified because he didn’t play great in the first game.
"And there’s probably a lot of people who wouldn’t play great in the first game, but if we won or had won the first two games, you probably wouldn’t have people dwelling on everything little thing he does."
Swinney is eager to see early critiques taken to task.
"He is a very talented young man growing into the role right before our eyes," Swinney said. "Learning how to be the starting quarterback at Clemson and all that goes with it. Man, I love this kid and I’m proud of him, and for the people who don’t think he’s got what it takes, we need to make sure we write their names down and make sure they stay on that train. Because this kid is better than good. He’s special. That’ll prove to be the case.
"It’s just a matter of time."
The Tigers head coach says he saw what he needed to see out of the home opener from Uiagalelei.
"He’s just a young player who is growing into a new role," said Swinney. "He’s played really four games as the guy. He did great in two of them, not great in one of them, and a lot better last week. He definitely missed a few throws but he made some good ones too. We’re in a place now where we magnify and dwell on the bad. He did a lot of good. We don’t stick our heads in the sand. We learn. We get better. He played a lot better. And can play a whole lot better.
"There’s no greater teacher than experience."