Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Football Program began their 2021 journey this past Wednesday, as the Tigers kicked off Spring practice. The Tigers also practiced on Friday and were scheduled to practice again Saturday.
“We are excited to get back going,” Swinney said. “It is always fun to start over and just develop a new team. So, we are really just looking forward to that. Every year that is an exciting thing and this is a new team. We don’t get to carry anything over, good or bad. We truly start over. This is a new team, 2021 and a new challenge ahead and we are excited about that.”
However, before he officially moved on to the 2021 season, Swinney did touch on how the 2020 season came to an end. Clemson’s season ended with a 49-28 loss to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff semifinals.
The Tigers were physically beaten on both sides of the line scrimmage, as the Buckeyes handed the Clemson program one of its worst bowl defeats in history. Ohio State’s 639 yards were the most total yards allowed by a Clemson team in a bowl game.
“We were all super disappointed in how the season ended,” Swinney said. “You know what? Unless you win it all, you always are a little bit disappointed. I know this, too, when you are part of a program where people are disappointed you did not win the national championship then that means you are at a special place.
“Again, we were disappointed, but it was another great year.”
Clemson finished last season 10-2 and ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press College Football Poll. The Tigers won a sixth consecutive ACC Championship along the way and advanced the CFP for a record sixth straight year. The 10 wins marked the 10th consecutive season the program won 10 or more games in a year.
“I am incredibly proud of our 2020 team,” Swinney said. “And everybody’s contributions that we had from the players’ leadership, our staff, our administration, medical people. It was a challenge like we have never had. It is something that I will forever be grateful for and all that went into it.
“I am just super proud of that team.”
Swinney said the Tigers hit every goal last year, but one, which was win the last game.
“We finished number three in the country and had ten wins,” he said. “There were three teams in the Power 65 that won ten games and that was us, Alabama and Notre Dame. So, we are just really proud of our guys and all that went into it. It was an incredible accomplishment … it is any year to win ten games, but to be able to do it under the circumstances we had to manage last year, it is just a credit to everyone involved.”
And though the Tigers made the CFP for a sixth straight year and accomplished a lot of things as a program, they still wanted to win the national championship.
“As we look back on it, I wish we would have won the whole daggum thing. But I know this, we are off to a lot better start this decade than we were back in 2010. That is for sure,” Swinney said. “But it is never about the destination. It never is, even when you get to the place you are trying to get to, it is not about that. It is always about the journey. That is what you always remember.
“I can just say that it has been amazing journey to this point in my time here at Clemson. Every year is a new journey. It is a blessing to be a part of it. I know we will have a lot of great moments ahead. That’s for sure.”
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