CLEMSON — During his Tuesday press conference, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney issued a rebuke of N.C. State head coach Dave Doeren’s accusations regarding a laptop being on the Clemson sideline during the Tigers’ 38-31 victory.
"It's disappointing because that was a challenge to our integrity,” Swinney said. “You know, you turn on the tape and two years ago we go up there and one of their coaches pushes Deshaun Watson. This year they have a coach who takes a swipe at Kvon Wallace. What if K'Von breaks a finger? I think the investigation needs to be on how he manages his sideline. Not worried about ours. So, no, didn't get a call. Didn't get a call.”
Wednesday, during the ACC Coaches Teleconference, Doeren was asked by The Times and Democrat if he had heard Swinney’s remarks.
“Yeah, I did. I think college football is a lot of fun, I really do,” Doeren said. “But we don't have a drone, but I am going to send some towels over to Dabo. We're good. It is in the past. Looking forward to playing Boston College.”
When asked a follow-up question regarding whether he wished he had handled the situation differently on Saturday night, Doeren brushed off his actions.
“No (I don’t regret my actions). I mean, look, I'm not a politically correct guy,” Doeren said. “I coach with a lot of passion. Our kids play with it. He does the same thing. At the end of the game, when you lose a game that has conference championship implications on it, sometimes things are going to be said.
“I don't think it's a big deal. I really don't. I'm going to move on, and I'm sure he will too. He's got a big game this week.”
Following the Clemson Tigers’ loss to Syracuse on Oct. 13, Swinney understood that his team would face a choice: Wallow in self-pity or refocus on the next game.
The outcome was positive as the Tigers have won back-to-back ACC games — setting up a matchup with the Florida State Seminoles Saturday (3:30 p.m., ESPN) for the Atlantic Division championship.
“I just think that's just ultimately what really matters more than anything is always how you respond to something,” Swinney said. “It's never really what happens, it's always how you respond to what happens, and that's in life and the game of football, everything.
“We've been a very consistent program for many years now because of kind of what we call the windshield mentality of, hey, you put everything you've got into it each week, it's the biggest game of the year. “
Being that “consistent program” is something that has taken many years to build for Swinney, and it is a direct result of the culture he has developed since taking over in 2008.
“That's the culture that we've tried to create here, and this is a very young football team. I mean we've got six seniors,” Swinney said. “Our juniors … went 14-1, 14-1, so they haven't had a lot of so-called failure, if you will, and so when you've got a young team, you're always coaching, and as a coach, you're always anxious, how are these guys going to respond, and are they listening. How's the leadership going to step up?
“So I've been really proud of this team because I've seen a lot of growth in them over the last few weeks, and I think that's, again, just a good sign of the type of young men that we have, our coaches, and just the culture that we have. You know, we responded, we self-evaluate, we go back to work, and you try to go win the next one.”
No one wants Noles
Florida State may not have the record that everyone expected before the start of the 2017 season, currently 3-5 overall and 3-4 in ACC play, but Swinney is not feeling sorry for the Seminoles. In fact, there are not many coaches in the country feeling bad for the Seminoles.
“They're very dangerous. I promise you, there's no coach that's going to turn on the tape and be excited about playing Florida State. They've got players everywhere,” Swinney said. “But the personnel, the talent, the athleticism is just typical Florida State. They've had three games that have been kind of the last plays … But this is an outstanding group, well-coached, and it’s just a typical Clemson-Florida State match-up, two good teams, and it's going to be a tough one.”