West Virginia comments suggest Tigers’ tough mentality a work in progress

Football fans took in the sights and sounds of the pregame entertainment of the Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Football fans took in the sights and sounds of the pregame entertainment of the Discover Orange Bowl on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012.

Turnovers "sucked the life out of" Clemson

None

— Following a stunning ACC title-game rout of Virginia Tech, Dabo Swinney had some biting words for his fans and an ESPN national-TV audience.

“This is what it’s all about. You don’t quit. There are so many quitters out there. All these people that quit on us, they don’t deserve this,” Swinney blustered. “This is for the players and the coaches and for all the people who were all-in all the frickin’ time. I’m proud of those people. That’s what this one’s for.”

It’s hard to reconcile those words with what happened Wednesday night in Sun Life Stadium.

A West Virginia team that survived a three-way tie in the weak Big East just to make it to the Bowl Championship Series utterly blasted Clemson, 70-33, in the Orange Bowl.

It was the most points ever allowed in a collegiate bowl game, and the second-most allowed by Clemson all-time, behind Alabama’s 74-7 romp back in 1931, leaving fans calling for defensive coordinator Kevin Steele’s job.

Perhaps most damning of all? Mountaineer players suggested that the Tigers weren’t exactly all-in.

“There was like linemen out there talking about, ‘Good job, man, stop going so hard. Y'all got it.' I was like, all right,” senior cornerback Keith Tandy told West Virginia Illustrated, a Mountaineer fan site. “I never heard anything like that and they just made us want to go harder and keep making plays."

Those are harsh words. Tandy didn’t name any names, and it is unclear if he was talking about senior linemen who were playing their last games or younger players who will be returning next fall; Clemson cleaned out its bench as the clock wound down.

Still, suggesting the Tigers quit and asked the Mountaineers for mercy is a pretty major sign that Swinney doesn’t have this program where he wants it mentally just yet.

Championship caliber teams have the ability to push through the down times and focus on the task at hand.

It could certainly be argued that Swinney has the right mentality. He went for two after DeAndre Hopkins’ 28-yard touchdown catch trimmed a 63-20 deficit to 63-26 with 1:37 left in the third quarter; the try failed, and, sufficiently angered, Dana Holgorsen put starting quarterback Geno Smith back in for a 12-play, 66-yard drive that culminated with West Virginia’s final touchdown.

But it has yet to filter down to his team.

Early this season, offensive coordinator Chad Morris said he was still seeking meanness from his offensive linemen, and “if they don’t bite when they’re a pup, they’re probably not going to bite.”

Wednesday, some of those same linemen apparently rolled over, if Tandy is to be believed.

The offseason can be drudgery for college football players, and this season should be just that for the Tigers.

Swinney wants more than 10-4 seasons capped by bowl blowouts from his tenure, and to do so he must change his team’s mentality.

There’s no better way to accomplish that this winter than reminders aplenty of Tandy’s comments – and 70-33.

© 2012 OrangeAndWhite.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 8

Wyatt_Earp writes:

By the way they played, its not surprising they quit...They were just following their leader. Dabo quit after the 99yd TD....Dabo is more responsible for this lose than anyone...he gets on tv and rants and raves like a school girl but cant't back it up on the field...but what do you expect from a cheerleader.

33dtb writes:

Can't EVEN picture one of Coach Ford's teams doing that and no one would have DARED suggest that they did.

33dtb writes:

Have to agree with a caller to Road Rage on 104.9 who said, "Don't get me wrong, I'm a diehard fan, but Clemson Football will never again be the same. It was kinda like watching your wife having relations with a porn star."

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to CannotStopTheVoice:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I doubt the WV players had any dates after the game. They were too tired from violating your Clemson team during it.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

Thanks for that! I haven't seen that intensity since Ford. Isn't that the same year we beat usc 45-0 in Columbia? All PRE TDP.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

You guys are ridiculous. All I can do is point and laugh. After a record-setting beatdown, you troll the archives of decades old footage.
What's next? You going to show me the '81 Orange Bowl with "Let's Get Physical" playing in the background?

Keep living in the past. Find a happy place!

33dtb writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

You guys are ridiculous. All I can do is point and laugh. After a record-setting beatdown, you troll the archives of decades old footage.
What's next? You going to show me the '81 Orange Bowl with "Let's Get Physical" playing in the background?

Keep living in the past. Find a happy place!

to quote the Gamecocks, "Wait 'till next year".!
Yall's string has about run out.

All-Time Series Clemson leads, 65-40-4
Longest Clem Win Streak 7 (1934–1940)
Longest USC Win Streak 4 (1951–1954)

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features