He spent the first 10 minutes of last week's practice in Death Valley up in their face and challenging them to run crisper and better routes, not to mention to start making more plays as well.
In addition, several other times this spring he has called his former group out, calling them inconsistent and not focused enough.
Of course, it's not surprising considering Swinney himself is a wide receiver and he has coached the position every year since he became a coach in 1993.
"He coached the wideouts for such a long time he stays on us no matter what group messes up," redshirt freshman Brandon Ford said. "He wants to see us do well because he told us he takes pride in our group because he coached us and recruited all of us so he is just trying to make us be confident and make plays all day."
Swinney's toughness seems to be working. Ever since last Friday, the wide receivers have been his most talked about unit. After putting together a quality practice on Friday, they followed that up with a strong scrimmage the following day in which Ford caught three passes for 97 yards and had two touchdowns.
"They have improved a whole lot since the first day of practice," quarterback Willy Korn said. "Throwing and catching we were not very strong the first couple of weeks and that's not just the receivers fault. The last two weeks we have been throwing and catching the ball pretty well."
The last two practices have certainly shown that sign of consistency. On Wednesday, Ford, Xavier Dye and Jaron Brown had a big afternoon.
"They are just catching the ball well right now," Swinney said.
Dye says it is no coincidence they started to improve once Swinney started to call them out.
"We take it as a challenge because he coached the wideouts so he expects big things out of us," the rising junior said. "He takes pride in us as a group because that is his background. We just want to come out, work hard and keep competing and stay consistent."
Another motivating factor is the group trying to step up and take the place of Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham. Not an easy task considering Kelly set the ACC record for receptions and owns just about every reception record at Clemson. Grisham on the other hand had perhaps the best hands on the team.
"He knows we can run the football," Ford said. "We have great backs and a great offensive line and the defense is pretty much coming back so the key drop off was where Aaron and Tyler were so he wanted to see us be consistent because those guys last year and the year before were consistent time after time.
"He wants to see us make plays all day and keep going. We are the group now. It's not like Aaron and them are still here. They are gone so we have to rise up and show that we can do it now."
Dye said what Swinney wants is simple; he wants them to be the best they can be.
"Don't be good, be great," Dye said. "He wants us to be great. So we have to go out there and work and be productive players."
It seems like they are getting the message.
"Don't be good, be great"
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