Regardless of whether it’s true or not, Clemson’s performance this season is all on Dabo Swinney.
And he’ll be the first one to admit it.
“I am 1,000 percent responsible. It’s as simple as that. It’s 100 percent on me,” Swinney said following Clemson’s 27-17 loss to Pitt on Saturday. “This team’s performance, it starts with me as the head coach. Period. Everybody hurts. This is a very frustrating, very painful time.”
Swinney has taken responsibility for his team’s poor play. An offense that hasn’t played to the team’s standard and a championship-caliber defense that finally gave way during Saturday’s loss. Clemson’s offense has yet to score over 19 points in regulation this season while coming into Saturday’s contest, the defense was only allowing 12.50 points per game.
Something had to give, and it did.
Swinney was asked to expound on why this season’s miscues all fall on his shoulders.
“Well the team’s performance, I’m responsible for it,” he said. “So, somehow I’ve got to find a way to help them. Be more confident. Make those plays that are there. You can’t really do anything about injuries, it’s some of the craziest stuff I’ve ever been a part of since I’ve been in college football. It’s crazy, some of the things we’ve dealt with. Again, you gotta just know that it’s all good in the long run. We’ve had so many unbelievable moments and years where nobody got hurt.”
Clemson’s injuries have piled up. The team likely lost its starting left guard, Matt Bockhorst, for the season. Swinney indicated that Bockhorst tore his ACL in the first quarter of Saturday’s loss. Additionally, it appears that Braden Galloway’s (shoulder) season is also over.
Including Bockhorst and Galloway, Clemson was down 17 scholarship players during the course of Saturday’s game. The Tigers were also absent four scholarship receivers — Joseph Ngata, E.J. Williams, Brannon Spector and Frank Ladson, Jr.
Swinney wasn’t using that as an excuse, as the team has underperformed with or without the players sidelined with injuries. Still, it’s been troublesome to see the injuries pile up, as he announced postgame that three players — Bockhorst, Galloway and Ladson — would likely miss the rest of the season.
“I still think we have enough to win,” Swinney added. “We’re just young, immature, not very confident and not playing with any type of precision. That’s my responsibility. It’s to take what we have and go win. That’s my responsibility and I’ve done a poor job of that. I’ve got to find a way to get us better.”