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Sport Dabo Swinney insists he doesn't care about outside noise. His comments suggest otherwise

18:15  29 october  2019
18:15  29 october  2019 Source:   latimes.com

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His comments suggest otherwise . By Matt Connolly. October 28, 2019 02:33 PM Dabo Swinney shared a consistent message early on during the 2019 season, and really throughout his time as the head coach at Clemson, whenever he was asked about things such as polls or outside noise .

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Dabo Swinney shared a consistent message early on during the 2019 season, and really throughout his time as the head coach at Clemson, whenever he was asked about things such as polls or outside noise.

a baseball player wearing a red hat: Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the Clemson Tigers, watches the action against the Louisville Cardinals at Cardinal Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019 in Louisville, Ky.© Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America/TNS Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the Clemson Tigers, watches the action against the Louisville Cardinals at Cardinal Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019 in Louisville, Ky.

“I don’t even think about it,” Swinney said after the Tigers received some criticism and dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the AP Poll following a 21-20 victory at North Carolina last month. “We always say, ‘Don’t let anybody walk between your ears with their dirty feet.’”

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In his first public acknowledgement of the incident, Swinney said he would "fire a coach immediately" if he called a player the "N-word" but said that is not what happened and that the context of the incident with former Clemson tight end D. J. Greenlee was crucial to how it was handled.

Clemson and coach Dabo Swinney have agreed to a new eight-year contract and a healthy raise, the " His teams have succeeded on the field, in the classroom and in the community. We're excited to If Swinney leaves Clemson during the deal's first three years, he would owe Clemson million.

Yet as the Tigers have continued to slip, dropping in at least one of the polls for a fourth consecutive game this past week, Swinney has gone from dismissive to seeming annoyed.

Clemson, the preseason No. 1 team in both the AP poll and Coaches poll, is now ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the Coaches poll, despite the Tigers being 8-0 and winners of 23 consecutive games.

Swinney had a little fun with the Tigers’ slide following a 45-10 win at Louisville on Oct. 19.

“I think after seven games we were winning by an average of 28.7 points per game (in 2018) and this year after seven we’re winning by an average of 28 points a game,” Swinney said. “So that .7 is elusive and we’re chasing that. That’s probably the greatest .7 out there. But we’ll keep working.”

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Swinney seems particularly unhappy with the criticism star quarterback Trevor Lawrence has received.

The sophomore entered the season as the Heisman favorite but is no longer in the conversation as he leads the ACC in interceptions with eight. But Swinney believes Lawrence is being judged unfairly by some in the media.

“Trevor’s been amazing,” Swinney said. “I know everybody just focuses on anytime he has a bad play, but he’s had a lot of great plays. That’s a major reason why we’re 8-0.”

ESPN analyst Emmanual Acho is one of several on-air talents to criticize Lawrence’s play this season. Acho claimed after Lawrence threw two picks in the first quarter against Louisville that he knew the recipe to beat Lawrence.

“The secret is out to beating Clemson, just rush three people,” Acho claimed. “Trevor Lawrence has got to get it together.”

But even with Lawrence’s turnovers he ranks second in the ACC in passer rating at 157.4, and Lawrence is also second in the ACC in touchdown passes with 17.

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He had his best game of the year this past weekend against Boston College, completing 16 of 19 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Lawrence did not have a turnover in the game.

“Trevor throws a couple of picks and that’s the story and it’s a shame, because the story really should be what these guys have done,” Swinney said. “We’re the only team with seven Power 5 wins out there and have really played a good season to this point.”

Lawrence is the first Clemson quarterback to toss at least three touchdown passes in three consecutive games since 2013 when Tajh Boyd accomplished the feat, a stat that Swinney brought up unprompted during his Sunday night teleconference.

“Deshaun (Watson) never did that,” he said.

But Swinney wasn’t done reeling off stats. He arrived for his teleconference ready to fire off a number of marks the Tigers offense has reached as of late.

Clemson reached the 600-yard mark for the third time in the same season against Boston College, tying a school record; the Tigers reached 550 yards of offense in three straight games for the first time since 2013 and scored 45 plus points in three consecutive games for the first time since 2012.

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“For an offense that’s supposedly struggled all year I think these guys have done pretty good,” Swinney said.

In reality, no one has said Clemson’s offense has struggled all year, and most national outlets have had the Tigers projected to reach the College Football Playoff for a fifth consecutive year.

Even Clemson co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott, as well as Lawrence, said earlier in the year that the Tigers were making too many mistakes and left too many points on the board.

Clemson entered the 2019 season with most of the stars that put up 44 points on Alabama in the national title game back, and most expected the Tigers to pick up where the left off. Instead, Clemson faced a little more adversity than most expected on its way to an 8-0 start.

Still, the Tigers are 8-0 and No. 4 nationally in total offense, averaging 526 yards per game.

“The team last year was the best ever, and if you just look at that team versus this team there’s not much difference,” Swinney said. “In fact, we’re ahead in a lot of areas. And could be much further ahead if we left some of these guys in there to play some of these fourth quarters where we’ve had control of the games.”

Swinney brought up Clemson’s success this season unprompted on several occasions during his Sunday teleconference, and you can bet he’s bringing up whatever negative attention he can find to his team as well.

As much as Swinney proclaims that he doesn’t care about negative attention or the polls, he’s clearly bothered by it and is using it to motivate his team.

“Coach Swinney can find a way, (even) when you’re the No. 1 team, to have fun and keep that edge,” Scott said. “And it’s important.”

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