Can Dabo Swinney bring Clemson back from disappointment? | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss Clemson’s loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday, and debate if Dabo Swinney will be able to bring Clemson back to the juggernaut they have been for the last decade.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: All right, and this is the one I want to get to first, because we are a negative based podcast, right? We are not a positive base. So we'll get to the positives. But Clemson.

As much as we talked about all the uncertainty in college football, Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State are very much likely, if not like they certainly all control their destiny to make the playoffs. And are very, very likely to get their. Clemson is falling apart. And the loss to Pitt, third loss of the year is-- we'll get to Pitt, played a great game.

Congrats to them and all that. But Clemson doesn't look good at all. It was never really that much in doubt. They could easily lose again.

They got weak in a few weeks. Nothing set there. Three losses. I mean, this could be a four or five loss team. We will see at the end, but people say, well, you got it down year.

That is true, but the really great programs rarely have real big down years. Where are you looking at right now which is the Overreaction Monday about the Clemson Football Program when this is not good. Pat?

PAT FORDE: Yeah. Oh, it's not good. I still think it's fixable. We've talked quite a bit on the podcast about the offensive line is the first place where they are really weak. And that is harder to fix, but they still should be able to do that.

At least get it up to functional. And then the question at quarterback is DJ Uiagalelei really, good enough to be the guy. They finally put him on the bench for a little while against Pittsburgh, but he still played the majority of the game.

I mean, he is just not had a good season at all, at all. His efficiency rating is 102-8, that is really bad for a starting quarterback. And it's not a service Academy quarterback, where you're throwing it six times a game.

They're throwing it plenty, and they're getting nowhere with that. So I mean, look, they are still bringing in great recruits. They've got a high level quarterback coming in from Austin, Texas.

Cade Klubnik one of those guys that went to all the elite quarterback camps and really shined, stood out there. So they have talent. They are involved in the Arch Manning chase, and boy, that's been interesting to watch.

But look, I still think this will be a blip more than a trend for Clemson. I think that they're just recruiting too well and they're too accustomed to putting together good teams. They know how to do it.

So I don't think this will last forever. And plus, they're still in the ACC. It's not like they're just going to be overwhelmed by the competition here.

PETE THAMEL: So this Overreaction Monday, this reminds me a little bit of Texas post Colt McCoy. When the dynamism left the quarterback position and the dominance left the quarterback position and the ability to erase mistakes was gone from that position, and all of a sudden, your reality was really laid bare. And look at the difference between Notre Dame cobbling things together this year in figuring out a way to be 6 and 1 or whatever they are and be in the top 10.

And Clemson just kind of falling apart. And I think this is what I'm looking for out of Dabo going forward. Dabo has been defiant in his own beliefs in his own way of doing things.

He said after the game, I saw quote out of his Presser like, we're not changing staff. He's really stayed away from the portal. I can't stand on the table and say Clemson isn't taking anyone from the portal, but they certainly haven't been involved in any memorable portal acquisitions. Would you agree with that, Pat?


PETE THAMEL: Like this is the pivot point where we are now where Dabo needs to be open to change. Go pay a line coach a million a year. Go get Justin Frey from UCLA, or go find the best guy on the board, bring him in. And you have a problem there, and because he's your buddy, and because he's a good guy, that all doesn't matter, because he helped you get there that doesn't matter.

There has-- there is an element of callousness if you're going to operate on one of these jobs. If Dabo is going to go into another decade there where he's really rolling high, he's going to have to make a few pivot points in how he runs that program.

DAN WETZEL: It's a little bit of a battle for him, no question. And it's a point. It's not ripcord panic yet, but problem for him is he built-- Coach William Christopher built a juggernaut, and the juggernaut-- it was the line about the Tiger, Pat? You had ride that tiger at LSU. It's great when you're riding the tiger but then the tiger ends up tiger and eat you. Clemson's a tiger too.