Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said his team has moved on since last week’s stunning loss to Syracuse and their attention has turned to finding ways to get better and to learn from it.
“You have a lot of guys on this team that haven’t lost,” he said.
Even the players who have lost before have not experienced it too often. Since losing at Florida State in Week 3 of the 2014 season, the Tigers have a 43-4 record in the last 47 games.
“It’s just an opportunity to teach every single week,” Swinney said. “It’s important for these guys to learn and grow from the good and the bad. But, I thought we did a good job of just kind of flushing it out and refocusing and keeping the right perspective.
“We had a bad day. We haven’t had a bad year.”
Clemson is definitely not having a bad year. The Tigers have won six of their first seven games and currently rank No. 7 in the latest Associated Press top 25 poll. They have won tough games against Auburn, Louisville and Virginia Tech. They are still in position to win the Atlantic Division and play for an ACC Championship.
If they can win the ACC and not lose another game, then they should be in the hunt for another berth in the College Football Playoff.
But Clemson (4-1 ACC) right now is just trying to get better and trying to adjust to the pain of what it feels like to lose a game.
“You know, I like the fact that it hurts because I think that a little pain makes you better along the way,” Swinney said. “I just saw our team go back to work and continue to focus on the things that we — even if we had won the game, had a lot to correct.
“But we didn’t win the game and we’ve still got a lot to correct, but there was a lot of good, too.”
The Tigers went hard in practice last night as they practiced in full pads, something they will do tonight as well.
“It ain’t fun to lose, and we have not had a lot of opportunities to lose,” Swinney said. “I say opportunity because it is an opportunity. I have always lived my life … If you never had any adversity, you win every game, you make every kick, you catch every pass, you get every ribbon, you never lose, you never fail. If you never have adversity then you kind of depend on yourself.
“I have always looked at it that if you have had adversity in your life, it makes you focus.”
Swinney said the Tigers will finish up the open week by continuing to work on Clemson today and then some work on Georgia Tech before he gives his players a little break this weekend.
“They certainly deserve it,” he said.