CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was a main attraction of the ACC Kickoff, but in typical Swinney fashion, the charismatic coach graced the media with extreme humility and pure excitement to have another opportunity to represent Clemson.
“We’re excited about the season, just like everybody. Everybody’s undefeated, ready to go. Love our team, love our roster, love our staff,” Swinney said at the Charlotte Westin as part of the ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday. “We feel like we’re one of those teams that has a chance to have a special season. But we all know there’s a lot of work to be done. So this is kind of that pathway to the next step.
“This means that we’re going to be back on the grass here soon. We’re looking forward to it.”
With so much attention being directed about Clemson’s consistent success over the last couple of years, questions were posed about comfort in the sense of having job security, but Swinney doesn’t think like that. He just focuses on the aspects of life he can control and preaches that it is all about enjoying the journey
“Ain’t no job security in what I do, that’s for sure. If they’ll tell Coach Bobby Bowden it might be time to move on, they’ll tell Dabo, I promise you. There’s no security in what we do. But I don’t think of it like that. I just try to focus on doing the best I can do day in and day out, year in and year out,” Swinney said. “As I tell my players, the days are long but the years are short. Just try to enjoy the journey. We don’t know if we’re all going to wake up and have air in our body tomorrow.
“I don’t really worry about stuff I don’t control. I just worry about my personal approach and attitude. I love what I do. I’m passionate about what I do. I’m passionate about where I do it at, a place like Clemson. I just try to do my best.”
Clemson has been placed on a national stage and has captured a lot of attention and praise, but Swinney says that the Tigers would not be where they are today without the hard work of past and current players as well as the dedicated staff that laid the foundation for success.
“I’ve had a great group of men I’ve worked with from day one that have done an incredible job of helping us build a foundation and build the program that we all enjoy today,” he said. “But most importantly, the credit goes to the players, you know. You can have a bunch of good coaches, but if you don’t have buy-in from the players, it ain’t going to work. I’m very thankful for the young men that have played for me.
“As Deshaun was saying, all the way back to C.J., Tajh Boyd, Sammy, Spencer Shuey, Da’Quan Bowers, guys when we were in the process of building something special, stayed the course, didn’t grow weary, bought in when they didn’t have to buy in. It’s no one person’s credit, that’s for sure. It’s a total group effort.”
But despite all the success Clemson has had, there is still one goal left unmet, and Swinney knows that the Tigers cannot rely on their previous success to get back to the National Championship.
“What we did last year is not going to win for us this year. We’ve got to go prove it and earn it all over again with our daily commitment,” he said. “Pay the price all over again with a humble and hungry spirit. We didn’t win the game. We finished with some regrets. We want to finish with no regrets. Even had we won the game, for us, we’re going to start over.
“We’re going to go back to the basics and try and reinstall our program, the core values of our program, get everybody on the same page with a common purpose and go grind.”