All eyes on Clemson football: Dabo Swinney’s expectations for the Tigers

By Gene Galin

Charlotte, NC – In an informative breakout session at the ACC Football Kickoff event on Thursday, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney shared some valuable insights into the team’s upcoming season. The session covered a range of topics, including the team’s offensive strategy, player preparations, key players to watch, and the ever-evolving landscape of college football. Swinney’s candid responses offered college football fans a glimpse into the team’s approach and aspirations for the 2023 season.

Embracing Tradition and Innovation: Clemson’s Scheduling Models

One of the key topics Coach Swinney touched upon was the team’s scheduling model. He highlighted Clemson’s unique scheduling approach, emphasizing the importance of playing strong opponents from different states. The team’s motto of seeking challenging matchups has been a fundamental part of their success over the years. Although not everyone subscribes to this approach, it has been Clemson’s tradition for some time and has served Clemson well. Swinney expressed his belief that playing formidable opponents, such as Notre Dame, contributes to the team’s growth and competitiveness. This scheduling philosophy has been crucial in cultivating a winning culture and preparing the Tigers for tougher challenges.

Offensive Strategies: Balance is the Key

When asked about the offensive approach for the upcoming season, Swinney emphasized the importance of balance. Clemson’s successful offenses have relied on a mix of run and pass plays, depending on the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Swinney emphasized the importance of a strong running game while also highlighting the need for a high-level passing attack to create more explosive plays. The coach acknowledged that running the football effectively forms the foundation of their offense. However, he also emphasized the need to be versatile and efficient in the passing game to keep the opposing defenses on their toes. He expressed optimism about the offense’s potential to return to its explosive form, provided the team remains healthy and cohesive.

Swinney’s Praise for ACC and the Rise of Florida State

Coach Swinney applauded the level of competition in the ACC and the impressive progress of Florida State. He expressed that having consistently strong teams in the conference benefits everyone, even though it poses challenges for Clemson. The conference’s depth and talent level have often been overlooked, and Swinney praised the league’s many talented coaches and players.

Quarterback Chemistry and Preparations

With the start of the fall season approaching, Coach Swinney spoke about the chemistry between offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and quarterback Cade Klubnick. He expressed his confidence in both individuals and their readiness to lead the team. Swinney revealed that Garrett had recruited Cade earlier, which contributes to their strong working relationship. Additionally, the team has made excellent progress during the summer, preparing for the challenges ahead.

Challenges and Opportunities: The Return of Chad Morris

During the session, Coach Swinney mentioned the unfortunate horse-riding accident that left Chad Morris incapacitated. However, he spoke of Chad’s passion for football and his desire to stay involved despite his physical limitations. Chad is set to work with both the offense and defense, bringing his wealth of experience and football acumen to the team. Swinney praised Chad’s coaching abilities and expressed hope that he could find a positive path forward.

Clock Rules and Their Impact

When asked about the new clock rules, Coach Swinney did not expect a significant impact on the team’s strategies. He acknowledged that certain rules have changed over the years, but the core principles of the game remain unchanged. Swinney emphasized the importance of taking care of the ball and avoiding turnovers, which play a vital role in a team’s success.

A Remarkable 15 Years at Clemson

As Coach Swinney reflected on his impressive 15-year tenure as head coach, he acknowledged the profound impact his time at Clemson has had on the program. Having witnessed the transformation from a young team to a powerhouse, Swinney expressed gratitude for the generations of players who have contributed to Clemson’s legacy.

Player Development and Depth

Coach Swinney highlighted the growth and development of the team’s players, both the seasoned veterans and the rising talents. He expressed confidence in the linebacker group, although they face some depth challenges.

The FSU-Clemson Rivalry: Electric Showdowns

Speaking of the rivalry with Florida State, Swinney acknowledged the electric atmosphere that surrounds games between the two teams. With both often vying for national championships, the matches are thrilling and highly anticipated. Swinney praised Florida State’s coach and the quality of their players, underscoring the importance of these rivalry games in shaping the conference’s reputation.

Adapting to the Changing Landscape of College Football

As the college football landscape continues to evolve, Swinney addressed the potential expansion of the playoffs. He acknowledged that it might affect scheduling and recruitment, considering the added pressure to make it to the playoffs. Swinney also expressed concerns over the impact of more games on player health.

A Promising Season Ahead

Coach Dabo Swinney’s breakout session at the ACC Football Kickoff provided an inside look into Clemson football’s preparations for the upcoming season. With a balanced offensive approach, a mix of seasoned and developing talent, and a competitive mindset, the team aims to maintain its tradition of excellence. The rivalry with Florida State continues to be a highlight. As Clemson embarks on its quest for another successful season, fans and players are awaiting the excitement and thrills that lie ahead on the gridiron.

Watch the Dabo Swinney breakout session at the ACC Football Kickoff on YouTube

00:06 Scheduling models and playing teams from other states have been our model for a long time.

  • Coach Sweeney expects an offense that can run and throw the ball at a high level.
  • Florida State’s consistent success is good for the ACC.
  • There are many great coaches and players in the league.
  • Coach Riley and Cade are ready to go and in sync with the offense.

03:29 Recruitment and preparation of players

  • The positive aspect of Garrett is that he recruited Cade and knew him prior to arriving at Clemson.
  • Cade has done an amazing job of leading the players in skills, drills, and installation.

06:40 Head coach Dabo Swinney reflects on 15 years at Clemson

  • Clemson head coach is entering his 15th year
  • The journey has been amazing with good and tough years
  • Many great relationships have been formed
  • A unique connection with Alabama through coaches
  • Seven graduates chose to stay close and focus on their goals
  • A new talented class has been signed
  • A mix of experienced and developing players on the roster
  • The team has a different mentality this year, focused on daily commitments
  • The key to success is having good daily habits and focusing on what is within their control

10:29 Purpose Driven program with guidelines needed for net good

  • The program follows a Purpose Driven mindset
  • Guidelines are required to ensure proper usage and structure
  • Different rules and lack of order currently exist
  • The track record and skill set of the team inspires confidence
  • Disappointing situation with a talented player leaving
  • Possibility of reinstating key players on the team
  • Cade is a more knowledgeable and confident player due to experience

13:48 Wide receiver has overcome injuries and is one of the best in the country

  • He missed most of the summer and battled back from a knee injury
  • He started performing well towards the end of the season
  • He is in great physical shape and is an amazing athlete
  • He is a key player for the team and good things happen when he is on the field
  • The team has a strong group of receivers who can compete at a high level
  • They also have talented young players to develop for future seasons
  • The coach is highly regarded and expected to bring success to the team
  • The game against Florida State is important and has historical significance
  • It could have implications for the division title and playoff eligibility

17:00 The quarterback is highly skilled and the team showed great belief and determination in a tough game.

  • The quarterback is versatile and can play different positions.
  • The team is fortunate to have a strong linebacker group.
  • To progress to a higher level, the team needs to focus on improving the pass defense and offense.
  • Trevor Lawrence showed improvement in his second year and had a strong performance.

20:00 Dabo Swinney praises Trevor Lawrence’s preparation and the team’s support

  • He commends Trevor Lawrence for always being prepared and working hard
  • He highlights the team’s effort in surrounding Lawrence with a strong group and getting Ridley back
  • Regarding comments about Deion Sanders, Swinney emphasizes focusing on their own program
  • Swinney acknowledges the challenges of playing against Dino Babers’ team
  • He mentions the difficulties of playing at Dino Babers’ home stadium
  • Swinney expresses excitement about the expansion of the college football playoffs

23:29 The introduction of a new playoff system in college football raises questions about scheduling and potential impact on star players.

  • The new playoff system may affect future scheduling, although the details are unclear.
  • It is likely that star players may be rested in games leading up to the playoffs.
  • The expansion to a 12-team playoff system is unfortunate, as there may be unintended consequences.
  • Similar situations can be observed in other sports leagues when it comes to playoffs.
  • The coach’s favorite play last season was a scramble play that resulted in a huge gain.