As a national championship team with three consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, Clemson football’s favorite saying, “best is the standard” has so much literal meaning to it as the Tigers do not settle for anything less than the best in everything they do.
Over the years head coach Dabo Swinney has turned Clemson into a college football icon and through not only his coaching on the field but off of it as well, he has allowed the Clemson football program to become one of the elite programs in all of college football.
“Last time I checked the expectations around here are really big,” Swinney said after his annual media golf outing at The Reserve at Lake Keowee on Tuesday. “But I just embrace every year. Like, ‘Okay, this is what we got. We’re going to be starting over on offense this year this is going to be fun.’ Just accept the challenge of whatever you have in front of you.
“It’s interesting because it seems like in college football there’s always a big turnover somewhere. At least that’s what it’s been like for us for a while. We’re filling some big void constantly, yet guys have stepped up. Some years it’s been on defense and some years, like last year, it’s been on offense but we’ve always had somebody that has stepped up for us in some capacity.”
Many thought the Tigers would hurt after the 2016 football season because of the loss of Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams, Jordan Leggett, Wayne Gallman and Ben Boulware. However, quarterback Kelly Bryant stepped up when he needed to and led the team to another College Football Playoff appearance.
With Bryant’s experience on offense along with the return of the defensive line in Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant and Dexter Lawrence the Tigers have one of the most veteran teams they’ve ever had going into this football season.
“This particular year is very unique because we just didn’t lose a lot,” Swinney said. “You’re talking about pretty much everybody back on defense from a good group and we’ve added some really good pieces to it.”
Not only is Swinney happy with the amount of players he has returning this season, but he is also proud of how hard they all work not only on the field, but in the weight room as well, as their physicality and toughness aids in much of their success.
“We are a strong team and that’s the result of having a lot of veterans,” he said. “We have guys that two years ago weren’t anywhere close to where they are now. It’s a team that I think has all the ingrediants from a strength and conditioning standpoint but we’ll wait and see where they all record at here in a couple of weeks.”
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!