In his weekly teleconference on Sunday, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney discussed overcoming adversity. He mentioned other times when his teams fought back from tough spots in his 13 years as head coach.
But nobody on Clemson’s current roster have experienced similar adversity.
“Sometimes you have a better opportunity to teach and lead young men in a moment like this,” Swinney said. “We haven’t had many of these moments, when we teach them we pick them up and it’s not always going to be perfect.”
Entering this season, the Tigers had lost just seven games dating back to 2015 including just three games in the regular season.
After the loss to NC State in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday the Tigers find themselves in a precarious position at 2-2 overall, 1-1 in the ACC and ranked No. 25 in the AP Poll.
It’s the first time in the last 97 AP polls that Clemson found itself out of the top 10.
“We are not immune to having bad moments, we are not entitled to win the league, we are not entitled to the playoff and all those type of things,” Swinney said. “We are a talented team; we are not where we thought we’d be right now and there’s nothing we can do about that but keep working and grinding.”
Members of Clemson’s sixth-year club have won two national championships, played in three title games and made the College Football Playoff every year.
But after the loss to the Wolfpack, the Tigers’ CFP hopes were dashed, and they do not control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic Division for the first time since 2015.
Swinney harped on the foundation of his program dating back to 2009 and thinks the Tigers are built to withstand difficult moments even in the midst of disappointment and broken dreams.
“But again, all that we have been through since 2009 gives me great confidence because we are a whole different program than we were in 2009,” Swinney said.
He reiterated why Clemson celebrates every win and savored all of the positive moments over the past decade.
Swinney remembered 2014 when Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in second half of the season against Georgia Tech.
And he said this team possess the same ability to overcome injuries and adversity with Bryan Bresee out for the season with a torn ACL, Will Shipley missing time with a lower leg injury and James Skalski fighting through a shoulder injury.
“We had our best player get hurt that year, we have several players hurt on this team but that team responded and this group will as well,” Swinney said.
Clemson hopes to get back on track Saturday at Memorial Stadium against undefeated Boston College.
Football season has finally arrived. Time to represent your Tigers and show your stripes!