No Regrets: Swinney looking for champions to be made over the summer
|Thursday, April 21, 2016, 8:05 AM- -|
That’s the mantra of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney as he guides his players through the transformation from spring to summer, and he wants his team to have the best summer they can so they don’t have any regrets next January.
The Tigers won’t take to the field in earnest for another 137 days. On Sept. 3rd the Tigers will kick off the 2016 season on the Plains, facing Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Those 137 days will be filled with expectations, excitement and even concern as the coaches hope all of the players make the right choices during that period.
Swinney thinks they will, mostly because his young team has bought into the process from day one.
“I love the chemistry of the team. We're certainly not ready to play, but I love the progress that we made, but mostly I just felt like from day one of our off-season, the chemistry of this team and the leadership of this team was very different, just at such an early -- sometimes it takes a little longer as you start over each spring,” Swinney said Wednesday. “Sometimes it takes until the summer to really develop the chemistry and leadership to where you want it to be, but just right out the gate, these guys have been together and focused, and a great sense of urgency, so really pleased. We were fortunate to not have lot of injuries this spring or anything like that.
“Overall I think we accomplished a lot of our goals, and now it's final time for us, and getting ready for summer school. I think the guys will have a couple weeks off and they'll come back, and we'll start what we call transformation phase of our journey this summer and try to get everyone focused on the individual expectations, the individual improvements that everybody has to make so that collectively as a team we can be better in August than we were when we finished up this April.”
Swinney said he’s already excited about the 2016 season.
“So excited about it. I like our guys. We're a young team,” he said. “We've got 22 seniors and juniors, and we'll have 63 freshmen and sophomores on our roster. But I really like the personnel that we have, and again, especially the chemistry and the leadership. Really looking forward to getting going.”
He was asked about his biggest concern heading into the late spring and summer, and he admitted he doesn’t really have one.
“The biggest concern? I don't know that I've got a huge concern,” Swinney said. “I just think that the biggest need is, again, as we finish up our exit interviews and we really give everybody individual direction on where they are and what they've got to do to continue to take the next step in their improvement process. Is everybody being committed to that? That's really the main thing.
“I don't really have, again, a major concern. I just think that we've got a lot of work to do, and we need that commitment this summer. I mean, I think championships are won when people aren't looking. Championships are won when the stands are empty.”
Swinney is looking for team leaders to emerge over the long summer.
“I'm excited about the meetings that I've had and the mentality of our team. It's just the guys have to -- they have to do it,” he said. “The leadership has to rise up in the summer. That to me is where teams have a chance to maybe get a little bit of edge on somebody else, and so that's why I'm excited, because the chemistry and the leadership that I've already seen I think is going to pay dividends for us this summer.”
The end game? To have no regrets after the final game.
“You know, I just want to see these guys take ownership individually and collectively and go have the type of summer that they need to have so that they can finish with no regrets,” he said. “I think that's the main thing.”