When he heard how his head coach came to the defense of his team and program following Saturday’s win over rival South Carolina, running back Adam Choice was not surprised.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney went on one of his classic rants during the ACC Championship Game’s coaches’ teleconference call Sunday night, letting it be known he did not appreciate a story that said the second-ranked Tigers’ 21-point win over the Gamecocks “felt like a loss.”
“That is one of the reasons why I was so attracted to Coach Swinney and Clemson,” said Choice, who scored a career-high three touchdowns against the Gamecocks. “Finding somebody who cares that much and who just has that drive and will to be the best and do things the right way and be successful. That is something you don’t see in everybody.
“For him to possess that it speaks a lot for him and who he is as a person as well as who he is as a coach.”
The win over South Carolina completed a perfect 12-0 regular season for the Tigers, just the third time in the program’s history it has reached the 12-0 mark. It is the second time it has happened in the last four seasons.
It was also Clemson’s fifth straight victory over South Carolina, something that has not happened for the Tigers in 78 years.
“Honestly, it is hard to speak for Coach Swinney because I know how passionate he is. He takes pride in his work and he tries to lead by example,” Choice said. “He teaches us to appreciate winning because I believe there are four teams undefeated right now and for us to be one of them is special.
“It is something that we understand as a team and he preaches to us it shouldn’t be taken for granted. If he’s preaching to us, I know he feels very passionate about it.”
That passion shined brightly in the Sunday teleconference as Swinney wanted the media and the fans alike to know winning is not easy and no one should feel like a fifth straight victory over its rival feels like a loss, even if it is by one point.
“I don’t know what kind of led to it or the background, but I know he takes pride in us as a team and as a program and as a fanbase,” Choice said. “For somebody to feel that way… That is one of those things. That is Coach Swinney being passionate and taking pride in what he does in this team and this program.”
Clemson will play Pittsburgh Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (8 p.m.) in the ACC Championship Game.