The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

At 2-2, Swinney and his Tigers still have much to play for

Lawton Hilliard, Contributor

Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) and tight end Braden Galloway (88) celebrate against South Carolina State in Memorial Stadium on Sept. 11, 2021.

After suffering a double-overtime loss to NC State last Saturday, the College Football Playoff (CFP) is likely unattainable for the Tigers. Still, the rest of the season has much to offer for No. 25 Clemson.  

As with any company or career path, learning and growing from failure is typically what builds success, and Clemson has an opportunity to do just that. 

Only four teams earn the chance to compete for a national championship in the Playoff, but outside of the playoff, reaching a premium bowl game can sustain Clemson’s reputation and recruiting ability.  

To reach the Peach Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or another substantial bowl game, it all begins with the Tigers’ offense, which has had its shortcomings. 

At this point, Clemson needs to heavily develop the offensive stars as well as aspects of the offensive scheme to accommodate for some of the weaknesses among the offense, such as the offensive line.  

The players and coaches are well aware of the offensive woes, but instead of panicking like their lives depend on each game, they are using the struggles to improve as a program. 

“2-2 at Clemson, that’s a different experience, and there’s nobody on this team that has experienced that,” said Head Coach Dabo Swinney on Tuesday.  

“But again, sometimes you gotta go backwards to make progress, and this is a great opportunity. It’s one of the best opportunities we’ve had as coaches and also as some of these senior leaders to teach and to grow.”  

One player who appears to be going backward is quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who even Swinney said has had “inconsistent” throwing mechanics and footwork. 

“He’s just not what he needs to be. Not what he can be, not what be will be,” said Swinney.  

Swinney compared Uiagalelei’s struggles to that of a basketball player, who needs to make the layups before he/she can make the three-pointers.  

Uiagalelei began his starting career last season against Boston College, when he came back from a 28-10 deficit and won the game. There is no better time for him to make those “layups” than against an opponent he is already familiar with.   

“You go back and watch this game from last year he was unbelievable,” said Swinney. “He can do it, it’s just putting it all together, and we gotta be better around him. It’s not just DJ.”  

The offense is not alone in its need of growth, as on Saturday, Clemson will be without two starting defensive tackles in Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis, who are both out for significant time. Although detrimental to this year’s team, the recent injuries do provide an opportunity to develop more inexperienced players on the defensive side of the ball as well.  

“It’s disappointing you don’t have a Tyler Davis or Bresee. These are two of the best players in the nation, but moving forward, you know the experience that we’re getting with these guys… that’s gonna pay off for us,” said Swinney.  

As Swinney discussed, the lack of adversity on this level has been absent from Clemson Football for some time. The last time the Tigers suffered two losses within the first four games of the season was in 2014.  

After week four in 2014, Clemson was No. 22, only three spots higher than Clemson’s current ranking of No. 25. Two years later, the Tigers were able to win its second national championship, exhibiting the value that a struggle-filled season has for a program like Clemson. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *