Dabo Swinney likes to say this a lot.
“God put our eyes in the front of our head for a reason,” he said.
His point? Life is not about what has happened in the past but what is out in front of us is what matters.
“That’s just how I look at it,” Swinney said. “It’s about what is in front of us and what’s next.”
With that, the Clemson Tigers have put their 2016 National Championship season behind them as they move onto the 2017 season, which officially began last Wednesday when they inked the 2017 recruiting class.
Now it is time for the Tigers to get ready for spring practice which will begin in a few weeks. The coaching staff will actually get back to Clemson this week and begin planning for spring practice in earnest.
“Yes, we learn and we get better,” Swinney said. “Just like last year, we missed on a few plays, but I did not go through the whole year miserable. That is just the way it is. That is football. You tip your hat to your opponent, you try to go get better and charge back up the mountain and see if you can get in that situation again.
“We ran out of time last year, I thought. We had one second left this year. We made just a couple of more plays then they did.”
Swinney says he does not sit down and worry about things that have already happened, including a season in which he is coming off a national championship.
“You find a way to win and you move on,” he said. “If you get beat, you learn and you move on. I’m just proud of our team. I’m really proud of our guys for how they competed all year long.”
Last year’s team was a perfect example of Swinney’s philosophy. He said all year long how quick they were to get over the loss to Alabama in the national title game and turn their attention to 2016 and the road ahead.
“What an easy team it was to coach last year,” he said. “The bar has been set so high from a leadership standpoint. They were just easy to coach and fun. Gosh, we had some fun all throughout the process.”
Now Swinney is excited about having some fun as he goes through the process with the 2017 team.
“We will start rolling up our sleeves a little bit as coaches and really start diving in with those guys,” he said. “There is a lot of self-evaluation to do. There is a lot of quality control. We have a lot of things we have to study and learn. I think that is one of the things that we do best is how we start over, how we learn from the season and how we evaluate.
“That process will start pretty much immediately and then we are going to get this thing going.”
Spring practice will begin March 1 and the Spring Game will be held on April 8 in Death Valley.
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