To Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney, a loss isn’t something he often dwells over, especially the 45-40 loss his team took from the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. As he gets ready for the 2016 season opener at Auburn on September 3rd, Swinney took time to join The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday and talked about what he wants his players to take away from that game.
“You go out and play seventy-plus plays for the privilege of two or three that are going to make a difference in the game. You know when you have teams that are pretty even,” Swinney said about the difference in winning and losing. “Yeah, we had a lot of indicators for victory for that game, but we lost the turnover margin, and we gave up some big plays that were the difference. We were proud of how they competed and fought all the way to the end, but the margin for error is so small when you are in games like that, so it was a good experience for our guys and certainly didn’t finish the way we wanted to, but we’ve refocused and recharged. We are ready to run back up the mountain.”
With star quarterback Deshaun Watson and seven other starters returning on offense, Clemson is once again expected to make another serious run at a national title. Swinney spoke about Watson’s drive on and off the field and what it’s been like having the junior at Clemson.
“He’s going to have his degree in December in three years,” Swinney said. “He just missed graduating in two-and-a-half years by five hours, so he took 20 hours this summer. A lot of people are trying to do the least that they can, and he’s always looking for more.
“Just last night, I got a text. I had already showered, I was over here eating dinner, and I was about ready to head into our coaches meetings, and I get a picture, and it’s a picture of Deshaun Watson from my brother. He’s like you’re not going to believe this, he’s still out on the field by himself, nobody around, doing some individual work on his own. That’s just how he is. He’s a special breed, for sure, and sure am proud that we’ve had the opportunity to have him around here for a few years.”
Swinney also talked about the perception of Watson being a “dual threat” quarterback, a label the quarterback does not appreciate and the coach laughs at.
“He’s a quarterback that’s what he is,” Swinney said. “People will say we’re looking for a dual threat quarterback. I promise you, I’m not looking for a dual threat quarterback. I’m looking for a good person first, a good quarterback second, and I need that quarterback to be a guy that can move around and create and make some plays with his legs. But I don’t go and recruit athletes and try to make them quarterbacks. I’m recruiting quarterbacks and he is.
“Whatever you need a quarterback to do, Deshaun Watson can do it, you can rest assured of that. But I’m so proud of him, he gets it, I think when it’s all said and done, people will realize, the world is going to get to see what I’ve seen for three years, especially as he gets to advance his career.”
In January, Clemson will be opening a brand new football operations building that among other amenities includes an HD theater, indoor golf simulator, a barber shop, bowling alley, arcade, and laser tag. But Swinney seemed to be most excited about the nap room that will be included in the state of the art facility.
“The biggest problem in a lot of people’s eyes, as I’ve listened to these doctors talk, is a lack of sleep on college campuses,” Swinney said. “They don’t sleep, and now that affects their mental health, and then you have all of these mental health issues and so forth. And I’ve seen in our building here I can come in, and if a guy gets some time in between class, we got meetings coming up, but he didn’t want to go back home, so he’s over here, and I walk in the team room and its dark, and there’s guys just lying on the floor asleep or whatever. So we just decided let’s make a nice nap room where those guys have a chance to lay down and catch a little nap. So that’s where that came from, and I think that something these guys are going to love and so we are going to have some natural lighting in there. I think we have a fish tank or something like that, but it will be great.”
Swinney then made an offer to The Jim Rome Show that will be hard to refuse, “Come do your show from there, you can take a nap before and after.”