Clemson, South Carolina — After winning six straight ACC championships, a college football playoff berth and two national championships, last season’s Clemson team stumbled out of the gate with a 10-3 run.
It’s been considered a down year for the Tigers.
After winning the ACC by a margin in consecutive seasons, the Tigers have underperformed in nearly every game in 2021, losing control of the Atlantic Division title and winning four by six points or less. league.
If nothing else, it’s a grim reality for players who are used to seeing romps in which everyone is involved.
Given that, from a macro perspective, such a wake-up call may be just what the Tigers need in their 14th season under head coach Dabo Swinney.
“They have a healthy perspective, a unique perspective that really, honestly, I haven’t had a team in a long time,” Swinney said. “It’s not their fault, but if you will, these guys haven’t experienced any football adversity.
“There’s a big difference between disappointment and adversity. If you lose a game, a national championship game or a playoff game, it’s disappointing, but I wouldn’t call it football adversity.”
He will sell that belief throughout the preseason.
So far so good, Swinney said he likes to look for a silver lining.
“Last year I was able to coach in a way that I couldn’t coach for a long time because I really didn’t have a chance to coach,” Swinney said Friday before his team’s first preseason practice. “There are some things you can’t teach on top of a mountain if you want to.
“Neither of us like adversity nor disappointment, but it’s good for us. It all depends on how you respond.”
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The Tigers’ response continued to keep Swinney optimistic. His team went 4-3 on Oct. 24 before ending a six-game winning streak, the longest of the top five in the Tigers’ 2022 opener on Labor Day night at Georgia Tech. winning streak.
The defensive strength of the team this year is unquestionable; solid quarterback play is the biggest potential hurdle.
But Swinney liked what he had seen since the spring.
“We weren’t very good (last season), but we were always looking for ways to win,” Swinney said. “It gives them a good perspective. I like their mentality.”