Clemson Football started fall camp Friday amid a chaotic landscape of conference realignment.
Head coach Dabo Swinney met with the press and was asked for his thoughts on what was going on around the nation.
“My job is to take what we’ve got and go beat what they’ve got. And we’ve always had a gap. We’ve never had a bigger TV contract. And in revenue, we’ve never been the highest, somewhere from 17-to-40, and we’ve never had the top recruiting class. Not to minimize that, but I don’t control any of that. I concentrate on what we do have. There has always been a gap here at Clemson.”
As a Clemson fan, it is refreshing to hear Coach Swinney take such a pragmatic approach. It especially stands out in contrast to the pointed language that came from Florida State’s theater this past week.
To be fair, the audiences were different, at least when it comes to who the message was directed towards. The Florida State board was sending a message to their fanbase that they weren’t being passive and were fighting for what is best for the school. The other side is that the team heard that message too.
I know FSU head coach Mike Norvell would support everything said by their board publicly, but I do wonder if he is concerned how the realignment drama might disrupt the focus of his team.
Coach Swinney was sending a message at his press conference to his team, first and foremost. His priority is making sure outside noise doesn’t distract his players from their priorities.
I don’t believe for a second that Swinney isn’t keeping up to speed with what is going on. I think he is communicating with athletics director Graham Neff, and I guarantee he isn’t telling him that he isn’t concerned what Cindy the program is in and what their revenue projections will be for the next decade.
Coach Swinney was one of the primary voices that set the direction for this program over a decade ago. He knows revenue matters, but it isn’t what his team needs to hear right now.
Dabo Swinney is speaking for Clemson Football while Florida State’s board is what you hear from Tallahassee
Tiger Nation could hear the message too, and it’s always possible they misunderstand what Swinney is saying. Some might think the Tigers just need to steer clear of all of it. Some might say Clemson can be in any conference and always compete for playoff berths and championships.
I guarantee that Coach Swinney doesn’t believe Clemson’s conference and revenue isn’t important, but it isn’t important to what happens on the field in 2023.
To sum up, in Tallahassee you have board members communicating what the fans need to hear, but the players hear it too. In Clemson, you have the head coach communicating what the players need to hear, but the fans can hear it too.
I’ll take the latter any day.