Dabo Swinney doubles down on optimism, says there's nothing wrong at Clemson: 'Our program has never been better'
Dabo Swinney is well aware of the so-called media narrative about Clemson, and he’s out to correct the record, especially as it relates to the upcoming season.
“People, they need stories and it’s a story if Clemson went to 6 Playoffs in a row and then didn’t make it. What’s wrong with them?” Swinney said in an interview with ESPN. “There’s nothing wrong with Clemson. There’s nothing wrong with our program. In fact, I would argue, honestly, our program has never been better.”
While Clemson has missed the College Football Playoff the last 2 seasons, Swinney pointed to reasons why he’s optimistic this time.
“Our people, the kids on this roster, the talent, our coaches, our support staff, our administration, our infrastructure, our connectivity,” he said. “I’m better now than I’ve ever been as a head coach. It’s not even close, where I am now to where I was in ’13, when we won our first BCS game. Never been better.”
The major changes for Clemson are at offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, and quarterback Cade Klubnik, as they begin the season a year after Brandon Streeter and DJ Uiagalelei were in those positions at this time last year.
“We got better, but still not to what I think we need to be, what we’ve been for a long time,” Swinney said. “There’s a lot of reasons for that. Brandon Streeter is an unbelievable coach, but I needed the position. Sometimes you need a different voice.
“I wouldn’t change anything. Last year when I hired Brandon, he deserved it, and he earned it. So no regrets on that. If it goes a couple plays here or there, we probably don’t have a change. That’s the reality of our world.”
Beyond Klubnik, Clemson boasts a host of key returners, including running back Will Shipley, linebackers Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and a talented defensive line.
“This is a team that will have a chance, and that’s all you can ask for,” Swinney said. “If you’ve got a chance and you have the right work ethic and the right spirit to you, then you can live with the result that comes with it. I don’t judge our teams by championships. I’ve never done that. That’s a miserable way to go about your life. For me, it’s more about who are they? What’s the commitment? What’s the chemistry? What’s our leadership? I loved last year’s team. We won the league. We got better, but we didn’t quite get where we wanted to go. We’ve worked hard, and I do think this team this year will have shot.”