Injuries hurt, but Maryland, Georgia woes have Tigers counting their blessings

Looking at the big picture from a mid-season perspective, Dabo Swinney says the Tigers have nothing to complain about

Clemson's Garry Peters and Travis Blanks tackle N.C. State's Shadrack Thornton during the second quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Garry Peters and Travis Blanks tackle N.C. State's Shadrack Thornton during the second quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

If he's ever tempted to hold an injury pity party, all Dabo Swinney needs is to look at Georgia or Maryland.

Clemson's coach is certain that his offense would be running a bit more smoothly if Charone Peake hadn't torn his ACL, or if injuries hadn't slowed offensive linemen David Beasley and Giff Timothy, or tight ends Jordan Leggett and Sam Cooper.

Just as the defense would benefit, he knows, from a healthy Mackensie Alexander, Kellen Jones, Carlos Watkins, Kevin Dodd and Garry Peters.

But looking at the bigger picture from a mid-season perspective, Swinney says the Tigers have nothing to complain about.

"Heck, everybody's got injuries. Look at the team we're getting ready to play," Swinney said. "They lost their two corners for the year, they lost their best defensive guy, and now they've lost two great wideouts for the year.

"And just look at Georgia. They're a shell of what they were when we played them. So we can't sit around and complain about our situation."

Swinney says the Tigers still have "plenty of good players" to accomplish their season goals.

"We've got everything we need to be one of the best offenses in the country," Swinney said. "(From last year) we lost one wideout, one running back, one tight end and one center. That's it.

"We have no excuses. We've done a lot of good things. But we're not satisfied. We've got to perform and coach a little better."

The scoreboard Saturday night said that Florida State is significantly better than Clemson.

Swinney contends that while the Seminoles may well be the best team in the country, a single game - a good performance by FSU and a poor one by the Tigers - shouldn't be viewed as a measuring stick of the two programs.

"I think Florida State's a great football team, but I think they're a team that if we played them 10 times, we'd probably win five and they'd probably win five," Swinney said. "I think that's about where it is. And that's taking nothing away from them - they played a heck of a football game and we didn't give ourselves, or our fans, a chance. You can't make those mistakes and really even assess where you are."

Swinney said the Seminoles have "a couple of areas where they may be a little bit ahead of us, where we're going to catch up."

"I think we're two pretty well evenly matched football teams," he said. "They're good up front on both sides, and so are we. They're good at backer, and so are we. They're good at quarterback and receiver, and so are we. They've got a little more depth at running back than we have right now, and a little more depth in the secondary.

"We're similar programs, but it just wasn't our night the other night, and you have to give them all the credit for that."

Swinney says he's confident the Tigers will handle their setback and move on to the final month of the season with a sense of purpose and a high level of performance.

"I think it's the maturity of your team," Swinney said. "We've got some experience in our junior and senior groups, and you rely on those guys. We don't want them to happy - they lost a huge ball game. But at the end of the day, it's one game. You can't sit around and fret and pout over what could have been.

"We've got to focus on what still can be, and there's a long of list of what still can be for this team - things that we're in total control of. Today, we're a top-10 football team, and we've been in the top 15 for a long time now."

Swinney said the mark of a maturing program is its consistency.

"This team has been pretty consistent, and the reason is that they get it," he said. "They've handled success, and when we had setbacks, they've handled those things good. It in the last 20 games, we're 17-3. We won some top-10 matchups and we've lost some top-10 games, and that was our fourth top-10 game in our last nine.

"We're disappointed that we lost the game and didn't play good. But I have no reason to think that we won't bounce back. We've got a lot to play for. We haven't had back-to-back-to-back 10-win seasons here since I was in high school. We've not had back-to-back 11-win seasons in the history of this school.

"We're getting ready to play our last game in October, going into November, and we're a top-10 team in the country. Nobody's going to put their head down and pout and cry about that and feel sorry for us. We're going to go on the road, get tremendous effort, and show up and try to play our best ball game of the year and get our seventh win."

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Comments » 1

CUNo1Fan writes:

Please, we must not have watched the same game Sat night Dabo. The Tigers certainly shot themselves in the foot with the early turnovers resulting in short filed or Defensive points for FSU. However, the Tigers were also thoroughly whipped on the LOS on both sides of the ball for the entire game which IMO had more to do with the loss than the turnovers. If the Tigers did not have the turnovers, then the score would have been closer but we still lose 8 of 10 or 9 of 10 times.

We had the same type early turnovers against LSU however we won the LOS battle and stayed in the game eventually winning it.

If you are holding your own in the LOS battle, then critical turnovers can be the deciding factor in who wins but if you are getting your tails whipped at the LOS then you are going to lose anyway, the turnovers just make it a blowout.

See Saturday night.

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