On Saturday, the action that took place on the field may have been secondary to what happened on the Clemson sidelines.
I'm not very good at lip-reading from the press box with a pair of binoculars. But like watching a movie from the silent film era, there wasn't much chance of misinterpreting the mood or the message as Clemson's coaches delivered a series of public tongue-lashings to under-performing players.
Swinney postgame Q&A, pt. 2
Chad Morris said after the game that the coaches were especially distraught with Timothy, who was back on the field in the second half, but played without the fire and physical aggressiveness that made him the Tigers' starting right tackle in the first place.
Tajh Boyd had Dabo Swinney steaming when he "got outside the system" with an ill-advised throw into traffic late in the first half, ignoring, in the process, a wide-open and easy pass to Brandon Ford in the flat for a "layup" touchdown.
On defense, Brent Venables hardly knew who to scream at first.
The Tigers busted on a long Furman run, and then Bashaud Breeland and Rashard Hall appeared to lose their focus as the Paladins struck for an uncontested touchdown pass.
No one is quite sure what Xavier Brewer - later described by Swinney as "one of our smartest players" - was thinking when he lackadaisically failed to cover the Paladins on a second-and-33 play.
Tony Steward was on the field most of the second half at linebacker as the coaches searched for somebody willing to step up and make a play, and Spencer Shuey rarely came off the field. "He's a guy we can trust," Swinney said later, adding that the Tigers needed somebody on defense "to be in the right position."
All-in-all, the sideline action was as instructive as it was ugly and entertaining.
When Swinney and his coaches talk about "playing to a standard," they're not just indulging in coach-speak.
A lot of Tigers missed the standard by a wide mark on Saturday, and they heard about.
The teaching continues.