Thoughts to this point

CLEMSON - Although nobody wants to go into a bye week with a 2-3 record on back to back losses, this is a good time for everyone to collectively take a deep breath and start looking ahead to these next seven games.

Not to take anything away from what Dabo Swinney has done since he was named interim head coach, but it was hard not to assume there would be some bumps along the way before the Clemson football program returns to the caliber that Tiger fans have come to expect, or even demand.

But no one can concede the problems only to the first-year head coach.

There's a red-shirt freshman at quarterback, an offensive line trying to transition from a work in progress to a stable unit, a bunch of young receivers, a first-year offensive coordinator and a revamped defensive coaching staff. No matter how bright the tint in the orange sunglasses, a combination of any or all of those had to be (insert descriptive word[s] of choice) in the back of a lot of people's minds.

Everyone can admit that there have been several flashes of good things from all those potential ‘question marks'.

Whether one believes it to be realistic or not, an ACC Championship is still within reach. Comb over the schedule and predict the future wins and losses. The games are played for a reason—just look back to this past weekend.

Yes, those glass half empty Clemson fans had even more reason to voice their disgust after Saturday, but they, along with everyone else, should try to enjoy this senior class' remaining days/weeks/months.

There was one particular post-game moment on Saturday that speaks to the character of this team's leaders. Jacoby Ford waited around to speak with reporters while everyone crowded around C.J. Spiller. Ford stepped up—kind of unnoticed—gave a quick waive and all but said, "I'm right here, guys."

"As a senior, we have to tell everybody that we can't splinter like previous teams have," he said. "We have to keep going out there and keep going to work."

Michael Palmer simply summed up the season to this point up pretty well too.

"This is a much needed off weekend. We have to rally and get back to work."

As cookie cutter as it may sound, those statements are sincere. Sincerity like that trickles down from the top. Top Stories