Dabo takes the blame

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney believes it was his responsibility to improve Clemson's record to 3-2, not let if fall to 2-3.

In position to beat Georgia Tech, Texas Christian and Maryland, Swinney doesn't mind shouldering the blame, especially for Clemson's disappointing 24-21 loss at Maryland's Byrd Stadium on Saturday.

"That's my job— to get us to win. That's the bottom line. It was just a poor job by me," he said.

C.J. Spiller vehemently disagreed with the man who convinced him to sign with Clemson and likely made it easier for him to come back for a fourth year.

"It ain't on Coach Swinney. He's not even out there playing. It's plain and simple. He's the coach," he said. "Of course everybody wants to take shots at him but I don't remember Coach Swinney playing one down today."

Kyle Parker recognizes where Swinney was coming from.

"I think that's what a head coach does—stands up for his players and takes responsibility, but at the same time, I think we can play better," Parker said.

Jacoby Ford agreed. He believed play on offense was mediocre.

"I know this offense is capable of doing anything possible," he said. "We've got to go back to the drawing board and get it back on track."

Parker completed 20 of 37 passes for 180 yards and was sacked twice. Swinney said he doesn't plan to make any changes there over the next two weeks.

Spiller rushed 18 times for 72 yards, Ford twice for 19 yards and a touchdown, Andre Ellington four times for 9 yards, Willy Korn twice for 12 yards and Jamie Harper twice for a yard. The team total: 30 carries for 81 yards.

"If we just do a little bit better coaching, we can be fine on offense," Swinney said.

Offensive struggles or not, he didn't ever think Clemson would lose. When the score was tied at 0-0 before kickoff and when he Tigers down 24-13 in the third quarter, he never felt a win was in doubt.

"I always think we're going to win. That's just how I think, I never think that we're out of the game," Swinney said.

Wishful thinking or not, he knows what's at stake each Saturday and what comes when the results aren't favorable.

"When you get into this business you get a lot of credit and you get a lot of blame," he said. "The blame should come to me. The criticism should come to me. Don't blame those kids. Don't' criticize our kids. Put it all on me. I'll handle it. I'll deal with it."

With a bye week next week before Wake Forest comes to Clemson, Swinney said there are two potential directions for Clemson to go. The first is to quit and throw in the towel. The other is to bounce back and make the final seven games better than the first five.

He believes there's too much resiliency for it to not be the latter.

"I'm going to keep working to try to get better. I'm going to try to get this football team better prepared, better coached and win a ball game," he said.

Ford said, "We can't let this loss determine our season. We've got to keep looking forward and stay on track."

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