Monday was certainly difficult for the Clemson football team when it reconvened and got back to work following last Saturday’s loss to South Carolina.
“Yesterday was a tough day,” head coach Dabo Swinney said during his weekly Tuesday press conference. “First day kind of getting back with them, and that’s just part of it. ‘Mental Monday,’ right — you’ve got to reset and you’ve got to own it and learn from it and get everybody on the same page, and then you go back to work. That’s what you do, whether you come off a big win or a really disappointing loss.”
Losing is never easy for the Clemson football team, which has won at least 10 games every season since 2011 and has only lost 23 total games in that 12-year span, including the Tigers’ two losses this year.
But this is the first year since 2013 that the Tigers are having to get over a loss to the Gamecocks, who snapped Clemson’s record-tying seven-game winning streak in the rivalry series with Saturday’s 31-30 outcome.
None of Clemson’s players had experienced a loss to South Carolina before suffering the sting of the rivalry defeat on Saturday at Death Valley.
“It’s always tough when you lose, but it’s not acceptable for us. It’s never going to be acceptable for us to lose that game,” Swinney said. “You’ve got to deal with it, but it’s not acceptable. So, it’s been nine years since we’ve had a meeting like that after that game. Nobody in this room has ever lost that game. So, it was a tough day, but everybody responded the way you needed to and go back to work. We went back and had a good practice last night, and on to the next one.”
Now, for Swinney’s Tigers (10-2, 8-0 ACC), it’s about picking up the pieces and locking in on North Carolina (9-3, 6-2) ahead of Saturday’s ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte (8 p.m., ABC).
“You better refocus quick because you turn on the tape and you start getting ready for the next opponent, and this is a really good team,” Swinney said. “It’s the two best teams in the league. We’ve both earned the opportunity to be in this game, and there’ll be one champion on Saturday night. Every time you play this time of year, they’re handing out a trophy, right. So, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back to work.”