One of Dabo Swinney’s favorite sayings is, “prosperity is a terrible teacher.”
Not many teams have prospered as much as No. 5 Clemson has the last two years. But a 14-game ACC winning streak, a 21-game home winning streak, a 23-game regular season win streak and a 46-game win streak against unranked teams all came to an end last Saturday against Pitt.
Now, as the Tigers get set to visit Wake Forest this coming Saturday in Winston-Salem, how will they respond to adversity? How will they respond to a loss?
“Prosperity is a terrible teacher. What I mean by that is sometimes you need a little pain along the way. A little failure is a part of getting better,” Swinney said on Tuesday as part of his weekly press conference.”
Swinney said the mood of the team for Monday’s practice was as expected … they weren’t very happy.
“They would have shown up yesterday ready to go just like they always have. But, there was a sense of urgency yesterday that had a hard edge to it, and I like that,” the Clemson coach said.
Swinney said the Tigers (9-1, 6-1 ACC) were very serious. They were dialed in, frustrated, mad, disappointed.
“All of the emotions that you usually have when something goes away that you have worked so hard for, and then it does not go your way,” Swinney said. “These guys care. They are not just, ‘Oh well, we lost a game.’
“They care! They work really, really hard and they are not used to losing, and I love that. We don’t lose a whole bunch and we are going to try and keep it that way.”
Swinney says this week’s game, with an ACC Atlantic Division Championship on the line, is just like any week when they’ve won a big game. How they respond in practice, in meetings and with studying film are going to go a long way with how they respond at Wake Forest on Saturday.
“How are you going to respond the next week? If you lose a game, how are you going to respond this week? How we respond this week is going to determine the outcome of Saturday night. You are going to be 9-2 or 10-1,” Swinney said. “It is a very simple game. It is not complicated. Guys were disappointed, but they were eager and ready to get back to work and watch the tape, challenge each other and go get it.”