ACC: Tigers coach Dabo Swinney addresses criticism, prefers to focus on team's success
July 22, 2022
Since making the College Football Playoffs six times in the past seven seasons, Clemson Tigers have faced many questions about their program's state.
Despite the team's success, which included its 11th straight 10-win season, no one is talking about the Tigers as a potential playoff team this season. Instead, questions about coach Dabo Swinney's decision to stay in-house and hire a new offensive coordinator are being asked.
During an interview at the Atlantic Coast Conference Kickoff on Wednesday, the coach said that he would not be able to continue as the team's head coach if he had to listen to the people who questioned him in the past.
"I do what I think is best for Clemson and what I think is best for our team. We've always been inside-out driven, and nothing has changed -- just more people pay attention. But that's because we've been successful," said Swinney.
Despite the controversies surrounding him over the years, Swinney said that he does what he thinks is best for his team and that he is still focused on winning. One of his biggest lessons is that people will still criticize him even after the 52-year-old coach has led the Tigers to multiple national championships.
It's been a different story for the Tigers since last season when they were considered the favorite to win the ACC and make a return trip to the College Football Playoffs. Despite losing Trevor Lawrence, the team was still expected to compete for the national championship. However, the offense could not live up to the fans' expectations.
Although the media has not yet released the pre-season poll, it's widely believed that the Atlantic Division will not be able to retain its title this season. Besides the loss of Lawrence, other prominent returning players such as Wake Forest and NC State are also expected to return their starting quarterbacks.
Swinney has high expectations of Tigers
Despite the expected decline in the team's success, coach Swinney said that the expectations are still high for the Tigers. However, he noted that the team's perspective is still healthy because of how long it has been able to win.
K.J. Henry, a defensive end, said that the team's current doubts about its strength of schedule are similar to the ones the players had to face during the past few seasons when it was a perennial power.
Despite the team's current expectations, he said the Tigers can't win a 10th consecutive national championship. Henry stated that the team's success will never be in its favor because it's always too easy to win. However, he praised how the players responded to the challenges they faced last season.
Uiagalelei, who lost 25 pounds during the off-season, is expected to be a vital component of the team's offense this season. According to the coach, the quarterback worked hard to improve his skills during the team's fall camp.
During his interview, Swinney dismissed the notion that he needs to rely on the messages posted on message boards to determine who DJ is. After winning six games during his second season as the team's head coach, many fans started calling for his removal. However, the team was able to win 10 games the following year.
Swinney also praised the support from former athletic director Terry Don Phillips. He noted that DJ has a lot of scars on him and will use those to his advantage this season.