Clemson Football head coach Dabo Swinney addressed the media Wednesday, and one of the subjects he touched on was the transfer portal.
"“We all want this microwave (playing career). We need to have a crock pot mentality. The best meals come from that crock pot when you leave at about 8:00 in the morning and mama’s got some food in the crockpot. You’re like, oh, that’s going to be good when I get home about 6:00, right? But everybody wants it in the microwave, and that’s usually not the best meals, the one you just heat up.”"
The transfer portal has been a hot-button topic for college football fans. Some are frustrated that the portal feels like free agency. Others feel that players should have the freedom to pursue their football pursuits wherever they want to enroll.
It’s not a simple this or that argument. NIL inducements now influence player movement. They shouldn’t be allowed but the NCAA can’t, or won’t, step in. It is also true that some players become impatient. They want to see the field quickly, but for whatever reason, they can’t bust through the depth chart.
On the other hand, we need to keep in mind that sometimes players aren’t being developed properly in the programs they chose out of high school. Sometimes the coaches make it clear that a player should move on. We don’t often have players outright say such things are happening, but we can read between the lines.
Deion Sanders recently took over Colorado’s program, and several offers made to high school recruits suddenly disappeared, despite the university assuring those recruits that their offers wouldn’t be withdrawn. Sanders also told Colorado’s remaining players that they should enter the portal because he was bringing in players of his own choice.
It wasn’t the Buffalo player’s who weren’t willing to have a crockpot mentality. It was Sanders who decided he wanted a microwave mentality for his program.
I firmly believe that in some corners of college football, players are entering the portal because they feel like they have no choice.
Crockpot mentality works for Clemson Football, but not every program can, or will, take the time to develop players
I also firmly believe that players at Clemson aren’t put in that position. I wouldn’t be surprised if coaches are blunt with them about expectations. I think they are upfront if they think a player might not retain a starting job, or if a player may not see the playing time they were hoping to see. I think they are honest with players, but I don’t think any player is told they should leave the program and enter the portal.
I genuinely believe that Coach Swinney would want every player to stay with the program, complete their education and even start a master’s degree if that were possible, even if that player was likely to be a third-string reserve.
I genuinely believe that if DJ Uiagalelei was comfortable with being a backup to Cade Klubnik next season, and he wanted to stay with the program, he would still be a Tiger right now.
I agree with Swinney that some players just want a couple minutes in the microwave and be ready to play, but I do think there are programs out there that aren’t able, or aren’t willing, to put a player in the crockpot and bring them along slowly. Clemson is one of those places where crockpot cooking works.