Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney wants to clear the air a little. Does his team want to be in position to win the national championship this year? Absolutely he does. But is winning the national championship the goal?
“Some people might say that is the goal, but that really is not the goal,” Swinney said. “The goal is to be the best that we can be and that is all that we are going to focus on. That starts with everybody giving that type of effort and commitment, day in and day out as we grind through the season.”
What Swinney wants to see from his players is the willingness to do what it takes on as consistent basis to be the best.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson feels this year’s team can make it back to championship game as long as they follow their head coach’s lead in everything they do … from workouts, to skills-and-drills and to practice, which will begin on Tuesday.
“You can feel it just by the way people are working and by the way they are committed to the grind,” Watson said. “It has been a great chemistry. It has been a great summer. There have been no off the field problems. Everyone has been at workouts, going to summer school and things like that.
“It feels like a good team, but we will really figure it out during camp and how we prepare for that first game.”
The first game will be against Auburn at Jordan Hare Stadium. It will be the first test on the Tigers’ journey back to the College Football Playoff and the National Championship Game.
“For the past several years I think we have been good enough, and we are good enough this year, but every year is a grind to get there. There are no free passes. You can’t skip here to end up over there. You have to go through the steps. Every year is different,” Swinney said.
And so it begins … a one practice, one play and one game at a time mentality.
“That’s what I want to see from this team … to be consistent performers, to be about the right things. To prepare the right way and to be committed each and every week,” Swinney said. “I want them to put everything they have into that one game.
“The one-game season mentality – that is what we talk about all the time. If we can continue to do that, then I think we can be in the hunt. There are a lot of things that can ultimately determine if you are in the national championship.”