Monday Morning Quarterback
Saturday’s loss at Notre Dame was a tough one for No. 4 Clemson. The Tigers, despite all of the adversity they suffered through before and during the game, had themselves in position to win the game twice, and both times they were unable to get the job done.
After the game, as one might imagine, Clemson was clearly disappointed. It’s a program that has not lost very often. In fact, they had not lost a regular season game in three years.
And though it does not happen very often, the Tigers seem to handle a loss as gracious as anyone. Though there was plenty for them to complain about following the double overtime loss, not one Clemson coach or player let their feelings be known publicly, at least.
Instead, Clemson was humble in defeat and gave all the credit to Notre Dame.
“First of all, I want to say congratulations to Notre Dame. Obviously, it did not go our way, but that was a classic that’s for sure,” Swinney said after the game. “That was an unbelievable college football game and both teams displayed incredible competitiveness. Incredible heart, incredible will to win, I mean, it was unbelievable to watch.
“In the end, we made too many mistakes and they made a couple of more plays than we did. So, congratulations to Notre Dame and Coach (Brian) Kelly. They did an awesome job. I knew it was going to be a tough team.”
This was theme throughout the postgame interviews with the coaches and the players. The Tigers had an opportunity to maybe complain about the things that happened in the game. They could have complained about some of the calls or non-calls that went against them in South Bend, but Swinney and his Clemson program chose the high road and gave their opponent the credit they deserved for making the necessary plays to earn the victory.
After the game, I thought about how Swinney handled himself. He did not run to the media and complain about the officiating and how some of the bad calls cost his team the game. He could have, and a lot of people would have backed him up if he did. But he did not. And that was refreshing.
When a media member tried to get Swinney to bit about the officiating, especially with the confusion following a Clemson penalty with a little more than two minutes to play in regulation, he still took the high road.
“They earned it,” Swinney said. “They put a great drive together against this tough defense and they made huge plays to tie it up. We are disappointed (to lose) for sure, but we had every opportunity… We had plenty of opportunities (to win the game).”
The way Swinney handled the questionable things surrounding such a tough loss should not go unnoticed, especially to a school and a particular coach up north, who seemed to complain more about the officiating following their loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl last year, instead of giving the Tigers credit for making the necessary plays it took to win such a hard fought game.
And yes, I am talking about Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. Here is the way you are supposed to do it Ohio State.
“All you can do is congratulate Notre Dame,” Swinney said Saturday night. “They did an amazing job.”
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