Clemson’s Dabo Swinney will get defensive after win over Syracuse: ‘Lot of unfavorable questions’


Top-ranked Clemson looked sloppy at times and let Syracuse hang around before pulling away for a 47-21 victory, but don’t tell that to Dabo Swinney.

“I just want to make sure I’m at the right press conference here,” the Tigers’ head coach said while meeting with reporters postgame. “We did win the game, I think. Am I in the right spot? You don’t usually score 47 points if you don’t have the right energy.

“We made some mistakes. It’s not energy when you don’t make a certain play, or snap the ball over a head. Just didn’t execute, but at the end of the day it’s not easy to win.

“There’s a lot of teams out there that would have lost this game with some of the mistakes that we made. We won the game by almost four touchdowns. I’m not getting any questions about ‘Proud of you guys for winning the game.’ It’s a lot of negative questions. You’re not going to get any negative stuff from me.”

WATCH: Here’s Dabo Swinney’s full response to the “negative questions” he got after Clemson’s win over Syracuse.

Was asked about the team’s energy (Trevor Lawrence said the Tigers were lacking it to start the game).

“I want to make sure I’m at the right press conference”

— Cam Gaskins (@CamGaskinsTV) October 24, 2020

MORE DABO: ‘I could say the sky is blue and somebody would be mad’

Anna Hickey, a Clemson beat reporter for, was the one who asked Swinney about the team’s energy level, stating that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said it wasn’t where it needed to be. Lawrence would know: He threw the first pick-six of his career, with Syracuse redshirt freshman Garrett Williams returning it to make it a 10-point game heading into halftime.

Syracuse later closed the deficit to 27-21 with 8:41 left in the third quarter on an 83-yard pass from Rex Culpepper to Nykiem Johnson. The Orange got the ball back with a chance to take the lead, but Andrew Booth recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD to give the Tigers (6-0, some breathing room.

“It’s obvious we didn’t play our best game, probably played our worst game up to this point, especially offensively and it starts with me,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t play the worst game of my career, but didn’t play great. I just think our energy wasn’t what it needed to be, and we picked it up and found a way to win and finished well. But definitely going to have to play better down the stretch if we want to get where we want to go. That starts with me. I don’t think I played a very good game today.”

Of course, it’s unsurprising to see Lawrence take accountability. The young QB is a natural leader, both on the field as a player and off the field as one of the faces of a movement to establish a college football players association. 

As for Swinney, you would expect he would anticipate those sorts of questions after his team found itself in a one-score game in the third quarter against a team it was favored to beat by 46 points.


Melinda Martin