Swinney will "fight like crap" to protect the culture he's built
|Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 7:38 AM- -|
CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was held after practice Monday. In fact, he was held so long that Tim Bourret (the football SID) had to remind the assembled media that Swinney will be available for questions midweek.
The Clemson coaching staff stayed long after Monday’s practice ended to watch a large group of hopefuls run through drills, the prospects hoping beyond hope that a coach would see enough to extend an offer to walk on to the football team.
Swinney laughed when he was asked if there were any Hunter Renfrows in the group - a group that included a 40-something giving it his all – and he said no. He then reminded the media that the walk-on tryouts are a part of his process, a process that led the Tigers to the school’s second national championship last season.
It’s a process he won’t alter, and he brought it up again when he was asked if it was harder to build a program to this level of success or harder to maintain that level.
"They're both extremely difficult. Different challenges when you're trying to build it, you're going to have a ton of failure along the way,” Swinney said. “Just try to have the fortitude and keep everybody believing even if you're not seeing the certain results you want in situations. Then when you've had a ton of success - the only thing we hadn't done was win it all - for us it's just the same formula it's been.”
Now that the Tigers have won it all, what happens?
“You just start over. You've got to fight like crap to protect your culture in every area. For us, I don't assume anything,” Swinney said. “We start over. I re-install everything from the coaches to the players; you name it. You're always trying to get better and always challenge yourself. It's all about the people and the little things. The little things are critical; you just try to protect that every single day. Who we recruit, the discipline of the staff, you name it. Academically, it's all areas.”
To make sure his point hits home with the players, Swinney invites former players in to speak to the team. Monday was another one of those sessions, but this session went a little longer than normal because of how many – and who – former players were there.
“Just like today I had Dwayne Allen, Robert Smith, Jonathan Meeks, Chandler Catanzaro, and C.J. Spiller talk to the team for 45 or 50 minutes before practice and it was all just what I was talking about,” Swinney said. “Both are hard; there's no question. It's hard to be consistent, and that's probably what I've been most proud of, we've been an incredibly consistent program for a long time. To be relevant that's what you've got to do, you've got to do it for a long period of time. That's how we got here. It wasn't just some simultaneous success; it was sequential. You do one right thing and then the next one. Success builds on success if you just stay focused on the things that matter day in and day out."