Dabo Swinney turns down the sound on 'negative' ESPN commentary

''Don't let anybody walk through your mind with their dirty feet.' I try to live by that'

Clemson's Dabo Swinney stand near a referee after an intentional grounding call during the second quarter at Maryland.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney stand near a referee after an intentional grounding call during the second quarter at Maryland.

If there's one thing Dabo Swinney can't abide, it's negativity.

Not from himself, his players, his coaches, or even in what his listens to during his 'leisure' time.

Sunday night, Swinney sat down to watch the ESPN replay of the Tigers' victory over Maryland and he couldn't believe his ears.

He told a participant on Monday night's Tiger Calls radio show that when he listened to the commentary, "you'd have thought we were down 39."

"It was just real negative - so I just turned it down," Swinney said during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. "I'm going to control what gets in here (tapping his head). Something I tell my players all the time, it's one of my favorite quotes ever: 'Don't let anybody walk through your mind with their dirty feet.' I try to live by that.

Tigers doing a lot of good things


"I wanted to see the game perspective, but I just turned the sound down. It was negative, and it has nothing to do with me or our football team. It's all about doing things the right way and finding ways to win games."

Incidentally, Mike Patrick and Ed Cunningham, who called the Maryland game, will again be in the booth for this week's game against Virginia.

Swinney has no problem pointing out the negative aspects of his team's play; but he says critique and criticism shouldn't steal the headlines from what may well be a special season in progress.

"I know everybody wants us to be up 35-0 in the first quarter of every game, but that's not really realistic," Swinney said. "It's a four quarter game, and we're on the road against a team with a lot of pride and good players, as well.

"The biggest issue that I have with us right now are the turnovers. As I look back at where we were this time last year compared to now, that's the biggest glaring difference. This time last year we had one fumble. We have eight this year.

"So it's the turnovers, and we're a little bit off on third down. We're not bad, but we're not quite as good. Those are my main issues. The fumbles are like a virus, and hopefully it's run through us...We just need to clean up some things and correct our negatives."

On the positive side, Swinney said "there are a lot of good things happening."

"You don't have the consistency of performance that this team has had for the past couple of years without being committed, without practicing the right way, without believing in what you're doing, without great effort, and without attention to detail," he said. "But we're not perfect - we've not coached or played any perfect games."

Swinney said sports information director Tim Bourret (Mr. Clemson Google, he called him) often surprises him with new facts and figures on Clemson's accomplishments.

"Tim puts stuff in front of me and I'll just look at it and say 'really...wow?'" Swinney said. "Like our road winning streak. We've got the longest road winning streak here in 35 years. If that was easy to do, then how come it's been 35 years?

"But it seems like nobody wants to talk about that, and give our guys credit. And how about the fact that we've had 15 straight wins by double digits over unranked opponents? There's only one other team that's done that, and that's Alabama."

Swinney said there other mileposts that catch his eye.

"For 39 weeks, we've be ranked, and there are only six other teams in the country that can say that," he said. "It's hard to maintain that type of consistency. But that is what we have to become as a program.

"We've been in the top 15 for 21 weeks, and the school record is 25. And the one I'm most proud of is that we've been in the top 10 for 10 straight weeks. We have the fourth longest streak in the country: Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State and Clemson."

Swinney acknowledged that pressure and expectations come with the territory.

"That's what we want," Swinney said. "We want to be a team that people expect to be the best. That's what we want our players to think, that's the way we want our fans to think, and that's how we want to perform."

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Comments » 9

DahlonegaJoe writes:

I agree the ESPN commentary on Saturday MD game was terribly negative. We turned off the audio and enjoyed the game much much more without the negative comments.
Other than positive comments on Sammy Watkins, virtually everything the announcers said about Clemson was negative.
We must realistically evaluate the good and room for improvement with this team and continue to improve. We have a ways to go, but the comments by ESPN were off mark.

iptaytiger writes:

I cussed them several times as well. I thought Palmer was bad, then these 2 idiots did the commentary.

rsb8931#286014 writes:

Has nobody ever watched a game before on television. This is not a rare happening it is common. I get P.O. every week almost by some guy that you would consider to be lacking in brain function that talks stupid about our team or a player or something else. It is very annoying to listen to espn broadcasters doing these games. It looks like they could hire some better people to broadcast these college games because some of the ones they have are really sort of "not smart" and do not need to be employed in the job they have.

BigBud52 writes:

Anytime you are watching the game at home just mute the TV and turn your radio on the Clemson network. The plays are running about 2 or 3 seconds ahead of the TV, but at least you don't have to listen to Jesse Palmer or Ed Cunningham. Palmer is up there with Tod Ellis on the crap scale. It is no wonder he couldn't get a girl on "The Bachelor", he never shuts up.

kimpots writes:

Perhaps ESPN would consider hiring old dabo as their CEO, since he knows so much about everything.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

It probably woundn't p me off as bad if they all didn't worship spurrier(The Old Ball S...) and the SEC( sacrificing Education Conference) .

lhaselden writes:

in response to kimpots:

Perhaps ESPN would consider hiring old dabo as their CEO, since he knows so much about everything.

Dabo would be great at it! But we want to keep him a while....

clemvol writes:

When you finally learn that every team you play will bring their very best then and only then will you know you must bring your very best. When you are a top dog everyone wants to put a muzzle on you. You have to choose who you are...a contender or a pretender. The Tigers have the experience, they have the players, they know what to do. Just loosen up and do what you do best. Quit putting so much thought in it. Talent and instincts have to shine. Get it done Tigers.

Kimarie56 writes:

Living out of state. I watch the games every Saturday on TV. If I have to work, it is recorded for me to watch when I get home. No one is allowed to discuss game with me until I get to watch it. I can tell you, except for some of the Georgia game, beginning with College Game Day to the game & any updates through out the day, nothing is ever positive about us! If they do say something good, they wipe it out with a negative follow up! I have become totally convinced we could be exactly like Alabama and they would still be negative! I live in the heart of the SEC and, OMG, according to sports broadcasting, there is no other conference... No matter how they win or lose, they are the next best thing to sliced bread!! Really???? We just need to keep our heads high, keep winning and they all can take a flying kiss!!! Love my Tigers, through thick & thin, my blood remains ORANGE!!! Just saying...

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