Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dabo on "Clemsoning"

Clemson isn't playing Georgia in the opener. Just ask head coach Dabo Swinney.
"I tell our team all the time that everybody is a nameless, faceless opponent," Swinney said last week. "We're playing Clemson every week. That's our toughest opponent every single week - Clemson.
Dabo is saying all the right things. He pays reference to players in the past approaching one game differently than the next depending on rankings, television time slots and whether or not the opponent runs a high school offense if College Gameday is in town. He knows the reality is they are very much a program not far removed from an embarrassing Orange Bowl destruction of epic proportions and are perceived in the ACC as a team that should compete each year in the conference title. But there's always inexplicable losses, such as Georgia Tech in 2011, North Carolina in 2010, Wake Forest in 2008...(ad naseum...)...

But I suspect Dabo also has to convince himself of this "nameless, faceless opponent" each night. He's an emotional coach that is able to chest bump his players and trade media barbs with the state's horsey-sauced incumbent loud mouth.

This opener is getting bigger each and every day. We suspected this would happen. But now that media days have come and gone you can actually feel it. I'm still more nervous about the second game. But as we draw nearer to August 31st, this opener will have an identity of its own and the average fan like me will not be able to contain it as just another football game.

Dabo won't either. His players, and fans of his team, better hope he has another shtick.