How 'Lil' Ol' Clemson' Overcame the Odds
Here today to talk about Little Clemson. First of all where where did that name come from. Davos swinney has been using it basically since he took over as the head coach back in two thousand eight and I know we're not supposed to be here. We're does willow beer but we about the Tigers man. I'm so proud and just quickly remind us. How much has little clemson accomplished in the last five years? And how do those accomplishments stack up against some of the all-time great teams. This will be their fourth national championship game in the past five years and obviously they have won. Two of the past three national championships backpedaling Lawrence flips absorb open wide open just native. Where's the pen strengthens? Its the championship game really witnessing one of the all-time great runs right. After or maybe you know in conjunction with the dynasty that Alabama has had attack territory with very likely a victory formation and a fifty fifth win but this clemson senior class. The Tigers Tigers reclaimed their crowd by four Alabama. We are really truly talking about one of the great runs. We've seen in this sport and yet they seemingly get no respect at least if you listen into what Dabo Sweeney has to say we win to the team that beat South Carolina. And it's we we get clemson out. It's the dad gummed state so it's big because you know they can't vote us out. I mean we gotta we gotTA WE GOTTA go thirty. You know I mean we got no choice forced but Stewart I wanted to talk to you about some of the things Clemson has had to overcome to get where they are today because in some ways it makes her accomplishments even more remarkable. So let's start with the schools location. This is a school that is in the tiniest towns announced in college football. The main drag is a half mile if that they have one of everything and only one of everything one starbucks Fox Walmart. You've got this eighty thousand seat stadium hundred fifty thousand people rolling into the town on the weekends. it's incredible bull and but then they all leave. You know Monday through Friday. We kind of have our own world and it's named Clemson. It's not named university. University of their state and Frankly University of South Carolina has a much bigger fan base in that state. CLEMSON's not even the biggest Followed team in their own state. And I imagine it's harder to build that fan support when you don't have the state name in your school's name 'cause fans can identify so strongly with the state there from. Yeah I mean obviously the one big exception in College Football History Notre Dame that has a true national following but that goes all the way back to the nineteen twenties and and new rockne is taking them on the train and playing games all around the country. It's truly unique when you think about the kinds of programs that we're used to seeing at the top of the polls the Alabama is the Ohio states. It's the US's these are schools with big huge national fan. Bases Clemson truly is still even with all the success mostly a regional school well and a lot of people might not realize this but clemson has had to recruit locally for the most part I mean. It's remarkable if you look at their roster. How many of the guys as our from North and South Carolina Georgia in Tennessee every program? You know the the core of their recruiting class is going to be in their backyard. But clemson's up until recently. He was almost entirely from their backyard. And really that mirrors Funston as a school their alumni base something like seventy percent of the alums live in three states South Carolina North Carolina and Georgia. This is not the kind of place where anywhere in the country you go. You're going to find clumps in Bar And one other big thing. That's working against Clemson. Is They play in the ACC weaker conference where where they don't really have a rival and it's almost like people forget about clemson during the regular season because you know they don't have very many marquee games. Yeah everybody watched. Trevor Lawrence and Travis E. T. N. and and T- Higgins in last year's national championship game and saw how great they they were and then the season starts in people. Stop watching the game. They played against Texas. Ain't ammon week to was the most watched game they played this season A little over six million viewers. That was not even one of the top twenty most watch games in college football this season. And if you look at that list of the top Twenty Games Ohio Hi oh state was in five of them. LSU was in four of them Michigan. who wasn't even all that good was in three of them? When talks about lack of respect the thing that bothered him most is this year? was that none of those star players Trevor Lawrence WHO everybody assumes will be the number one pick when he's coming off his junior season travis? CTN has been one of the best running backs in the country the last three years. None of those guys made the heisman ceremony. And none of those guys were even finalists for the award for the best is player at their position in. That's not because they're not great players. It's because nobody watched them this season. How has clemson been able to overcome some of these kind of systemic? Systemic challenges. The fact that they aren't this historical powerhouse. The fact that they're in this tiny town in the middle of nowhere South Carolina would have been the keys to to them building this program into what it's become. Yeah well it really all starts Dabo swinney. He is a extremely unique personality in college. Football one moment along the way that I think have stuck with everybody was Dave beat Notre Dame in practically a monsoon in twenty fifteen regular season and they interview him after the game on. ABC what nine listen. We're giving scholarships give you stipends in tails in a place to live. We're giving nice uniforms. I give you good service tonight. It was big. Well Gee Bring Your own God put some dads and to me that personifies daboh like. That's not something. Most coaches coaches would say in a post game interview and kind of set the tone I think from their Dabo. Swinney is the fun coach. He's the coach who when they built their new football facility. They put in a PUTT. PUTT course welcome to the outdoor pavilion miniature. Golf Renfro just happened to catch the game winner in the National Championship Against Alabama. We'll see what he's got here. Your place on Punsalan rest for the weary. We'll at hunter and so that became their brand there. The Fun School there the place you want to go if you WANNA play college. Football get an education education and have a lot of fun doing it and to amplify that message. Clemson was really ahead of the curve. I think With how they used social media to appeal to recruits they are constantly putting out videos And other images that show exactly that that show that take you inside side. The Locker Room and inside the facility in show you how much fun they're having Show you Dabo swinney dancing in the locker room after a win Stewart. How would you describe Devil's dance? Moves dance moves are about a clunky and awkward as you'd expect from a middle aged dude but but certainly in keeping with his his personality. There's also a video that they posted of Disney filming a football ball movie at Clemson last night. Any five thousand people here. We have to shoot three plays and the entrance from valley in a half of a half time. Half time the real players went off the field and a whole bunch of actors and Clemson. Uniforms came running onto the field and the and the the crowd cheered them on. And and you know made it seem like a real football game and the footage is going to be spectacular. It's one of the three loudest crowds in Clemson visit history. And what role has the rest of the Clinton coaching staff played in the rise of the Tigers when Dab oh I started getting a going at Clemson they weren't a national powerhouse yet. They were starting to get better. He did something that was a little unusual at the time and basically took a lower salary for himself in order for them to spend more on. assistant coaches. Because at that time. They weren't necessarily rolling in money like some of the programs that they were trying to compete against. They they were paying their coordinators top dollar money and those coordinators played a huge role. I mean they were the ones that certainly Chad. Morris was the one that recruited and coach Sammy Watkins Skins and certainly does Shawn Watson. The guys that got this run started now. They are rolling in money. An data was making nine million dollars a year. And that's you know that there's no longer a disadvantage for Clemson. But they were very smart about how they went about managing that in the early years of this run.