Following Clemson’s 27-17 loss at No. 23 Pittsburgh on Saturday that dropped the Tigers to 4-3 on the season and 3-2 in ACC play, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked what message he has for fans and people outside of his program who want sweeping changes and are calling for coaches to be fired.
“Well, those were a lot of the same people that probably wanted me fired after the first couple years, wanted my strength coach fired and all those things,” Swinney said during his postgame press conference. “If I start running this program by listening to people outside, then I’ll probably be one of them pretty quick.”
With Saturday’s loss to Pitt, Clemson now has two ACC losses before the month of November for the first time since Swinney’s second full season as head coach in 2010, when the Tigers finished with a 6-7 record. With its two conference losses already this year, Clemson’s hopes of winning the Atlantic Division and the ACC Championship for the seventh straight year took a major hit.
The last time Clemson lost three games in a season was in 2014, and its third loss that year didn’t come until Nov. 15.
“Hopefully if I’ve done anything, I’ve demonstrated over 13 years as a head coach, I think we’ve been a model of consistency – on and off the field,” Swinney said. “So, hopefully, like I said, we’ve earned a little bit of trust. Again, you have every right to be disappointed. I’m disappointed. Everybody’s disappointed. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a situation like this.
“But I have been in situations like this, and I know what we’re made of. I know what I’m made of and I know what these kids are made of, and we will grow through it. We will. And we’ll get back to winning some ball games, and hopefully that’ll make us appreciate it even more when we get back to that time. Because it’s coming.”
Swinney says despite the rash of injuries his team has suffered this season, he isn’t making any excuses, and his staff and team must get back on the horse ahead of next Saturday’s game against Florida State at Death Valley.
“Again, continue to get better, continue to recruit, continue to get some players back. Not making any excuses,” Swinney said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t with us that eventually we’ll get back. Again, in the long run, we’ll look back on this really disappointing time just like I can look back on some other disappointing times over the last 13 years and I can see how we grew from it. And that’s always a choice. For me, I’ll show back up tomorrow and get back at it. There’s no quit in me, there’s no quit in this staff and we’re going to focus on trying to win this game this week. That’s all we can do.”
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