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#pounditThursday, October 6, 2022

Dabo Swinney

Dabo Swinney has funny take on Clemson-Wake Forest thriller

Dabo Swinney

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. Credit: Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Saturday’s game between Clemson and Wake Forest was a wild overtime affair that saw the two teams put up a combined 96 points. In a game like that, no wonder it took a few years off Dabo Swinney’s life.

Swinney joked after the Tigers’ 51-45 overtime victory that he’d aged ten years during the game, going from 52 to 62.

Swinney probably is not alone in feeling that way. Clemson jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, only to surrender 28 points in the second and third quarters to trail 35-28. The Tigers needed a 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 38 with four minutes left, then won in the second overtime.

In other words, the game was stressful enough if you were at all invested in it. On top of that, Swinney had to navigate his ridiculously huge play sheet, so that probably didn’t help matters either.

Dabo Swinney has interesting take on Clemson QB situation

Dabo Swinney on the sidelines

Sep 5, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney questions the side judge after a replay during the first quarter of the Chick-fil-A kickoff game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Do the Clemson Tigers have a quarterback controversy? Head coach Dabo Swinney is not necessarily saying they don’t.

While DJ Uiagalelei opened the season as the starter, freshman Cade Klubnik impressed during garbage time of the team’s 41-10 season-opening victory over Georgia Tech. Klubnik ran a ten-play, 66-yard drive in the fourth quarter that left some wanting a glimpse of the freshman in a more competitive game environment.

Swinney appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” Thursday and was asked about the state of the quarterback position. The coach left the door open to Klubnik eventually supplanting Uiagalelei, though he added that every position sees competition, not just quarterback.

“We’ve got three five-star quarterbacks in our room,” Swinney said. “DJ has earned the right to be the starter without question, but Cade has demonstrated that he can win for us based on what we’ve seen in practice, and then we finally got a chance to get a little bit of game experience. He’s certainly proven that he deserves the opportunity to play within the flow of the game or the season as we go.

“Nobody has a lifetime contract in college football. You’ve got to show up every week and you’ve got to go prove it and earn it, and I don’t think we’re any different than a lot of places out there.”

Uiagalelei struggled at times in 2021 and threw just nine touchdowns compared to ten interceptions. Swinney has defended him in spite of those numbers. If things do not improve, the coach will have no choice but to make a change.

Most coaches would call this a good problem to have, and Swinney is no different. He’s certainly being paid a lot of money to make these calls.

Dabo Swinney gets massive new contract from Clemson

Dabo Swinney

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. Credit: Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Dabo Swinney’s season got off to a great start with Clemson’s blowout win over Georgia Tech on Monday night, and things are now going even better for the head coach.

Clemson’s Board of Trustees on Monday approved a new contract for Swinney that will pay him $115 million over the next 10 years. The $11.5 million average annual salary places Swinney second among college football coaches behind only Nick Saban.

Swinney, 52, has been the head coach at Clemson since 2009. He has led the Tigers to two national championships and seven ACC titles. Clemson has won at least 10 games in 11 straight seasons.

Swinney last signed a 10-year, $93 million contract in 2019. The new deal puts him ahead of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.

Clemson lost both their offensive and defensive coordinators to head coaching jobs during the offseason, so Swinney should waste no time earning his raise. He appeared to take on a bigger role with calling plays on Monday, which even led to some funny memes.

Dabo Swinney gets meme treatment over huge play call sheet

Dabo Swinney on the sidelines

Sep 5, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney questions the side judge after a replay during the first quarter of the Chick-fil-A kickoff game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Dabo Swinney is one of the most respected coaches in college football, but he was the target of some jokes during Clemson’s opener on Monday night.

Swinney was seen carrying a massive play call sheet on the sidelines. The large, laminated sheet led to many jokes. Many people thought Swinney’s play sheet resembled the type of menu you would see at a Denny’s or Waffle House.

All the jokes were pretty humorous. We can’t argue about that.

Clemson lost both of their coordinators from last season. Longtime defensive coordinator Brent Venables left to take the Oklahoma head coach job, while offensive coordinator Tony Elliott left for the Virginia head coach job.

Swinney may now be more plugged-in with the Tigers’ offense than usual … and he has the play sheet to match.

Dabo Swinney has strong response for critics of QB DJ Uiagalelei

Dabo Swinney

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. Credit: Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei endured a disappointing first season as starter in 2021, and he became a firm target of fan criticisms. Some critics still have yet to be won over, but coach Dabo Swinney is not listening to them.

Swinney had a strong response Wednesday when asked about Clemson fans being critical of Uiagalelei. The coach pointed out that he did not need to hear from people who, in his mind, thought Uiagalelei was superior to Trevor Lawrence when Uiagalelei was a freshman.

To be fair, a lot of the criticism of Uiagalelei was warranted in 2021. Swinney knew it then, too, as he at one point benched the quarterback who had been touted as a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate.

Clemson’s hope is that with a full year as starter under his belt and an offseason to prepare, Uiagalelei will be much better in 2022. If that is not the case, these Swinney dismissals will not age well.

Dabo Swinney asked about Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher conflict

Dabo Swinney

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021. Credit: Ken Ruinard / staff via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Dabo Swinney didn’t have much to say regarding the Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher controversy that has dominated the college football headlines recently.

Fisher labeled Saban a “narcissist” after Saban accused Texas A&M of buying many of their new top recruits. Other coaches weighed in on the controversy between the two, but Swinney wasn’t interested.

While visiting the Lowcountry region of Charleston, South Carolina as part of Clemson’s annual Prowl & Growl tour on Tuesday, Swinney told reporters that his focus was on his team and nothing else.

“My focus is on the Tigers,” Swinney said. “I ain’t getting involved in all that stuff. I’ve had plenty of comments on NIL.”

Swinney made his opinions on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rules known in an April interview with ESPN’s Chris Low.

While he said that he was not against NIL rights, Swinney didn’t agree with removing the amateur status for college athletes.

“I am against anything that devalues education,” Swinney said. “That’s what I’m against. I am for anything that incentivizes education. That’s a slippery slope if you professionalize college athletics, and now you’ve got salaries and taxes and you can fire kids on the spot and they’ve got to pay for their tuition and they pay for their housing and everything else.”

Swinney said earlier this offseason that college football is in for some major changes. Saban and Fisher’s public spat may have further expedited the process.

Dabo Swinney predicts huge change in college football

Dabo Swinney

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thinks college football’s current model is not sustainable, and sees huge changes in the sport’s future.

Swinney said Friday that he envisions some sort of Power 5 breakaway division in the future, leading to a “complete blowup” of the NCAA.

“I think there’s going to be a complete blowup … especially in football, and there needs to be,” Swinney told ESPN’s Chris Low. “I think eventually there will be some type of break and another division. Right now, you got everybody in one group, and it’s not feasible. Alabama has different problems than Middle Tennessee, but we’re trying to make them all the same and it’s just not. I think you’ll have 40 or 50 teams and a commissioner and here are the rules.”

Swinney is far from the only person who believes the future of college athletics revolves around the Power 5 conferences and a possible breakaway. One prominent college basketball coach has urged top schools to do the same on the basketball side.

On the other hand, other prominent names in college athletics think some sort of breakaway is highly unlikely. The logic behind that stance makes sense. Swinney is also right, however, that the current system has major issues that need addressing.

Photo: Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney after the 14-8 win over Georgia Tech in Clemson, S.C., September 18, 2021.
Ncaa Football Georgia Tech At Clemson

Video: Dabo Swinney brought back the ‘dab’ dance after Clemson’s bowl win

Dabo Swinney dances

Clemson players were likely disappointed with their 2021 season given all the tremendous success the program has had in recent years. However, any talk about the Tigers not caring about their bowl game was clearly inaccurate.

After Clemson defeated Iowa State 20-13 in the Cheez-It bowl on Wednesday, Dabo Swinney and his players celebrated in the locker room like they just won a national championship. Swinney even brought back the Dab. Check it out:

This certainly isn’t the first time Swinney has hit the “Dab” after a big game. He’s been doing it for years, and a FOX affiliate once mistakenly concluded that the dance was named after Dabo.

You can see more of Swinney’s dance moves here.

Clemson finished the year 10-3 and capped it off with a bowl victory. They may have fallen short of the incredible expectations Swinney has established, but the coach had a great quote earlier in the year about how difficult it is to win. He clearly got his players to buy into that.

Dabo Swinney delivered great quote after Clemson’s regular-season finale

Dabo Swinney

Clemson finished their regular season on a strong note with a 30-0 win over South Carolina on Saturday, but most Tigers fans probably are not satisfied with the result. Dabo Swinney had an excellent way of summing up some of those emotions.

Swinney was asked by a reporter after the game if the 9-3 season has given him any perspective. He said he hopes it will help people appreciate just how difficult it is to win every year.

Clemson’s 2021 season would be considered a huge success for most programs. One of their three losses was a 10-3 defeat at the hands of No. 5 Georgia in the first week of the season. The second was a double-overtime loss to NC State, and the third was a 27-17 loss to 23rd-ranked Pitt. Clemson will be invited to a solid bowl and have a chance to win 10 games yet again.

Of course, the standards are astronomically high at Clemson. Swinney has led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff in six consecutive seasons. They’ve been to the National Championship Game four times since 2015 and won two titles. That level of success is incredible and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

We thought Clemson got favorable treatment in the rankings earlier this season, but they finished the year on a good run. Making the College Football Playoff is extremely difficult, no matter how easy Swinney’s teams have made it look.

LSU AD eyeing national champion coach to replace Ed Orgeron?

Ed Orgeron in a white LSU shirt

Almost every top college coach in the country will hear his name connected to the LSU job at some point, and Dabo Swinney is no exception. The two-time national champion has already denied that he would have any interest in a fresh start, but that doesn’t mean LSU will take him at his word.

Paul Finebaum said on the “ESPN College Football Podcast” recently that LSU athletic director Scott Woodward has Swinney at the top of his list.

“It’s really hard to chisel that one down,” Finebaum said of the LSU coaching search, as transcribed by Wade Peery of On3.com. “There are some who believe the AD Scott Woodward wants — you ready for this — Dabo Swinney. Now, there’s talk that the president wants Mel Tucker. (University of Louisiana coach) Billy Napier is out there maybe as a second-tier selection if everyone else goes bust. It seems like Jimbo (Fisher) is out of that one.”

Fisher coached at LSU under Nick Saban nearly two decades ago when the Tigers won a national title. The connection there is natural, but Fisher insists he is very happy at Texas A&M. Swinney is the big name that Finebaum mentioned, and it’s noteworthy that Clemson is 4-3 and having a very rough season.

Does that mean Swinney would entertain leaving? Probably not. Swinney has built Clemson into a national powerhouse and won two championships since 2016. He signed a 10-year, $93 million extension with the school two years ago. Swinney would have to pay Clemson a significant amount of money if he took another job at this point. The 51-year-old responded to a question about the LSU job last week.

There are other candidates for the LSU job that make more sense than Swinney. That doesn’t mean LSU officials will ignore Dabo altogether, as they are likely to explore every option.

Photo: Sep 18, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron looks on against Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports