Clemson head coach impressed with Tar Heels’ toughness, never-quit attitude
When Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney watches film of his opponent each week, he can tell almost immediately if his team will have issues or not that coming Saturday.
A lot of times he will hear the rhetoric if the media thinks a team can beat the Tigers, and he sometimes wonders what they are seeing because he does not see it. Then he will hear how Clemson should have no issues with a certain team and he turns on the film and he is like, “This team here is pretty good.”
Swinney not only watches how a team executes and what kind of offensive and defensive sets they run, but he looks at how they play, as well. When he watches film of North Carolina, Swinney sees a team that plays together.
“You can easily see the spirit, the toughness, the competitiveness and how they are trying to play physical. How hard they are playing,” he said. “They are playing as a team. And you can see that they care.”
The best example of how much they care came in Week 3 at Wake Forest. The Tar Heels (2-2, 1-0 ACC) trailed the Demon Deacons 21-0 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter down 21-3. However, they rallied for 15 points and had the ball at the end with a chance to win the game in a 24-18 loss.
In fact, North Carolina has trailed in the fourth quarter of every game this season and has rallied and given themselves a chance to win every one of them.
In the season opener against South Carolina they were down 20-9 and came back to win the game, 24-20. In Week 2, quarterback Sam Howell threw a touchdown pass to Dazz Newsome with 1:01 left in the game as they rallied for a 28-25 win over Miami.
Against Wake Forest, UNC ran out of time on the final drive when Michael Carter did not get out of bounds in time to set up a final desperation heave from just across midfield. Then last week, against App State, they rallied from a 17-point deficit and had a chance to tie the game at the end, but the Tar Heels’ 56-yard field goal attempt on the last play was blocked.
Despite the last two setbacks, Swinney already sees how legendary head coach Mack Brown is affecting the way his team plays and how hard they play, even when they fall behind like they have.
“If you don’t have the right culture and have the right stuff within your program, that can get bad in a hurry. But, man! Sure enough, here they come. Here they come,” Swinney said. “That’s coaching. That’s coaching, and he has enough to win with. And again, enough to beat us. I mean we lost to Syracuse (two years ago). They won four games that year. They have plenty to beat us.”
Swinney’s message to the Tigers heading into Saturday’s game in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they can’t let up because if they do the Tar Heels will get after them.
“Anybody can beat us. We are not entitled to win,” the Clemson coach said. “We have to earn it. Every week, we have to earn it. We have great humility for the process that it takes to earn it. But (Brown) has enough. Right now, they just don’t quite have all of the depth. I think if they could stay healthy, they have a chance to be maybe a bowl team. They have had a couple of injuries already and they just don’t have a lot of the depth that they will recruit to, I am sure.”