Before playing Pitt for ACC title, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney takes aim at critics |

Before playing Pitt for ACC title, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney takes aim at critics

Jerry DiPaola
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney gathers in the middle of the field after the game against South Carolina Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Clemson, S.C. Clemson won 56-35.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had more on his mind than Pitt when he spoke with reporters Sunday on a conference call previewing the ACC Championship.

Apparently, winning three consecutive ACC titles and following up with a 12-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking this season isn’t enough for some Clemson fans.

He said this season was not just a great season, “but an historic season. A lot of first-time-evers.”

Clemson set school records for winning seven consecutive games by 20 or more points and scoring at least 27 points in every game.

On Saturday night, Clemson defeated in-state rival South Carolina, 56-35, in what Swinney described as his team’s best performance on offense and worst on defense.

But he wasn’t making any apologies for it.

“(Saturday) night was a night the defense needed our offense and we played our worst game defensively and still won,” he said “I think that speaks to the strength of our team.

“Nobody’s happy about how we played defensively, outside the fact we had two goal-line stands, a turnover and three sacks. It’s just not anywhere near our standard around here. The bad news is we played bad defense. The good news is we’re better than that.”

That logical explanation from a coach who won a national championship two years ago apparently didn’t quell some critics.

“At the end of the day, I’ve been a part of this thing for 16 years,” he said. “I just want to win by one more point. If that ever gets to where that’s not enough, then it’s time for me to move on somewhere else.

“I ain’t never going to apologize for a 21-point win over a state rival, ever. You people who suggest that it felt like a loss, y’all need to check yourself, too. For all those people out there that want to complain about … winning by three touchdowns, man, that’s shameful. That’s a lack of respect for our program and a lack of respect for the effort that these players and coaches put in.”

Then, he paused and added, “I hope you write that.

“12-0 football team. A senior class that’s won 52 games. We got people complaining. Give me a break. If 12-0 ain’t good enough, it’s time to seek other places.”

He didn’t specify who should do the seeking or where other places might be, but he emphatically added, ”Make sure you get that.”

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.