Swinney: Why not us?


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Dabo Swinney at his annual media golf outing on Tuesday.
Dabo Swinney at his annual media golf outing on Tuesday.

SUNSET, S.C. – “Why not us?”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told the media on Tuesday at his annual media golf outing that he understands why the national media has lowered expectations for the Clemson program for the 2011 season, but Swinney said this team might surprise some people.

“I’m looking forward to the season,” Swinney said. “Who knows what it’s going to bring? I just know that we’ve got a lot good times in front of us at Clemson University. Why not us? It’s been 30 years since Clemson won the national championship. It’s been 20 years since we’ve won the conference championship at Clemson. That’s long enough.

“That is my job. If I’m given the opportunity, we’re going to do that. I don’t have any doubt about it. I understand you don’t get a lot of time these days in building a program. It’s important that we take a big step this year in solidifying the direction that I want us to go. I’m very confident that we’re going to do just that. It’s time for us to take that step as a program and be one of the elite teams in the country and we are going to do that.”

Swinney’s first full season, in 2009, ended with an ACC Atlantic Division title and a berth in the ACC Championship, but 2010 was a nightmarish 6-7, and Swinney said winning is definitely more fun than the alternative.

“It’s a lot more fun to win at Clemson than to lose,” he said. “This is a team that’s been in the penthouse, played in the championship game. Most of these guys, they’ve experienced that. And they’ve also been in the outhouse where they’ve experienced the other side of it. I think our guys know it’s a fine line.

“It ain’t very far from up or down. I am excited about building something that will sustain. I don’t want to do it the wrong way or cut corners. It has been a grinding two years to get to this point. But I’d say we’re right on track, from a program standpoint, where I want us to go long-term. I think our future is very bright.”

The step back that Clemson took in 2010 was a combination of many factors – poor offensive execution and the failure to hit field goals at clutch times are just two – but many close to the program also understand that last year’s squad was a team that lacked a true vocal leader.
C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
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, Thomas AustinThomas Austin
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, Jacoby FordJacoby Ford
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and Michael PalmerMichael Palmer
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were all leaders on the 2009 team that didn’t mind getting in a younger player’s face if the situation warranted it, but 2010 was a “different dynamic” according to Swinney.

“I think last year we had 18 seniors, but only about eight them of even played,” he said. “And I think we only had about four that even started and they were quiet guys. This offseason has been like night and day in that regard, however. I have seen guys like Landon WalkerLandon Walker
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and Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
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and Antoine McClainAntoine McClain
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step into that role.

“Tajh [Boyd] has been a tremendous leader this off-season, and he has been here all the time. Even when he can leave and have some time off, he is here. Those guys are in the film room all the time. They are pushing each other. There is a just a different feeling around here right now, a different dynamic. It’s night and day. That is the probably the thing that has gotten me the most excited.”

Swinney said the staff has even taken an extra step in developing leaders – the coaching staff asked the seniors to pick two freshmen, two sophomore and two juniors to join the seniors in the leadership meetings, and he has already seen a difference.


“At spring practice, there was extra discipline and there was extra running,” he said. “You might have an entire group running because of one guy, and that makes sure that everybody is accountable and our team has embraced that. It carried over into the summer, and this is exciting because they are hungry. These juniors and seniors were in Tampa, what, 20 months ago? They have had a taste of it, and they have had a sour taste. Winning is much more fun.”

Swinney said that he is excited about the nucleus of young but extremely talented players he has on his roster, especially after only signing 12 players in 2009, and then redshirting a good portion of the 2010 recruiting class instead of playing them last season.

Now, Swinney says he will play anywhere from 25-30 redshirt freshmen and true freshmen this season.

“We made that decision back in 2009 to just sign 12, and we said we were going to move scholarships forward,” he said. “We were planning for this day. We knew it could hurt us on the front end, but we felt like it would pay off in the long run. It would let us recruit the kinds of guys we want. We redshirted eight of 11 of that first group, and then 15 of 19 of the ones we brought in last year, so we are going to have some young but talented guys that are going to step in and play.”

Swinney said he believes that the youngsters are ready to compete, however.

“All of those things we have experienced over the past two years will pay off, and hopefully that is this year,” he said. “Our guys will line up and compete with anybody. It’s a great time to be here. We’ve got everything we need at Clemson to win.”







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Subject (Replies: 71) Author
spacer Swinney: Why not us?
Crump®
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
CUAtTheFinishLine®
spacer I'm ALL IN and say Dabo will get it done...
TigerLight
spacer Based on what evidence is he a great coach?
tigerdrummer®
spacer based on the fact
tiger6
spacer Re: Based on what evidence is he a great coach?
ctgrs74
spacer Re: Based on what evidence is he a great coach?
mtiger60
spacer Well...
tiger6
spacer Re: Based on what evidence is he a great coach?
Orpride
spacer Because you said we just needed an oil change.***
tigerdrummer®
spacer Re: Because you said we just needed an oil change.***
armsb
spacer So you think we did just really need an oil change?
tigerdrummer®
spacer so he should have kept Napier to keep his
poppasback
spacer My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
tigerdrummer®
spacer Re: My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
CUAtTheFinishLine®
spacer And look where that got him.***
tigerdrummer®
spacer Re: And look where that got him.***
CUAtTheFinishLine®
spacer I don't know...
tiger6
spacer Funny I dont remember Danny playing a single snap
TX Tiger®
spacer exactly!!
chrisCUfan
spacer Re: Funny I dont remember Danny playing a single snap
carolinachef
spacer Re: My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
Jhop83®
spacer Re: My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer Re: My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
deroberts
spacer Re: My point is Dabo is all talk until he can actually win
sgt tiger®
spacer Re: So you think we did just really need an oil change?
allorangeallthetime52®
spacer you do realize that was for a different season different
jgtiger
spacer That's my point exactly! Dabo's "oil change"
tigerdrummer®
spacer FIRE DABO!***
Smiling Tiger®
spacer Maybe you should change your name to Angry_Tiger***
Tiger_Tim
spacer I'll tell you what. No matter what you think about Dabo,
mrorange
spacer Re: I'll tell you what. No matter what you think about Dabo,
CUAtTheFinishLine®
spacer Now you're learning Dabo.***
Rowdy28
spacer Re: Now you're learning Dabo.***
bmoretiger
spacer Re: Now you're learning Dabo.***
gotigers68®
spacer Well, one reason could be that the WRs are molasses
TheProdigal
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
TheMatney
spacer I loved hearing Dabo bust on Kornkoot.***
Completely Solid Orange®
spacer what did he say, cant listen***
jgtiger
spacer Nothing overt, just picking at him.
Completely Solid Orange®
spacer dont think Kornblut was actually in the crowd, I think Dabo
ArmyRanger28®
spacer Oh... well darn. He still got a shot in at him.
Completely Solid Orange®
spacer sweet. More old cliched sports slogans. Next stop,
deleted
spacer Clemson's biggest opponent is itself.***
TheProdigal
spacer Re: sweet. More old cliched sports slogans. Next stop,
sbrooks®
spacer gracias, kind sir, gracias.***
deleted
spacer well at least he's even now...
tiger6
spacer Re: well at least he's even now...
armsb
spacer As to my being old...
tiger6
spacer Re: As to my being old...
armsb
spacer Best reply ever...! ***
winky
spacer Why not us? 1) TDP hired Dabo instead of a good coach
Razzmatazz
spacer Tajh Boyd is a Redshirt **Sophmore**
Tigers2388
spacer Oops! Of course I meant first year starter.***
Razzmatazz
spacer I'll be surprised
TIGERCOOK®
spacer I'd suggest...
BigDan
spacer The best talent weve ever recruited @ CU Loves Dabo & I
ArmyRanger28®
spacer This year or 3 years from now?
Wosco
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
CLE802
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
Imbleedinorange
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
icebucket
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
tonybenson62003
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
Razzmatazz
spacer Who did he hire to fix the kicking problem?
Wosco
spacer Clemson didn't lose any games due to missed field goals.
Razzmatazz
spacer I didn't come to that conclusion, Dabo did!
Wosco
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
WhstigeR®
spacer Re: Maybe you should change your name to Angry_Tiger***
WhstigeR®
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
bubba1239®
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
CUalum79ALLn65®
spacer Re: Swinney: Why not us?
cqcknfire
spacer Another #### ignored, I love this new feature!
Tiger8693
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