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By Johnny Falduto

CLEMSON - Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney spoke about the state of the Clemson football program at his weekly press conference on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s game against Notre Dame.

“This is a healthy tree that’s produced a lot of good fruit around here. A lot. I’ve seen Clemson University change, I’ve seen lives change, I’ve seen a lot of things change…This is a very healthy tree that’s produced a lot of great fruit, but even a healthy tree needs to be pruned so that you can bloom back better and produce more fruit- and that’s what we’ll do.”

“I know what we’ve done here and I know what we are going to do- and what this season will do is produce some amazing fruit. Just get ready and watch what God does.”

He continued: “I’m 53 years old. I’ve had a lot of challenges and adversities and setbacks, and again, as I said last night to my new friend, I’ve been a part of failure many times but I ain’t ever failed at anything that I’ve set out to do in my life, ever. We’re in the midst of an amazing journey in college football history, and I’m not going to let one season- when I know exactly what the issues are- I’m not going to let one season damper that. I’m going to fight for this program.”

As he has said several times in recent weeks, he hopes this season will remind fans of how difficult it is to win: “Hopefully we can get back to some appreciation around here. It’s freakin’ hard to win. All you’ve got to do is look around the country- what’s happened here is historic. We’re having a bad year. That’s my responsibility. Ain’t nobody happy about it. It’s on me, 100 percent. I ain’t asking nobody to be happy, but let’s not eat our own.”

Swinney was asked what triggered last night’s fiery response after a caller, ‘Tyler from Spartanburg’, asked him why Clemson was paying him “$11.5 million to go 4-4” among other personal and professional criticisms: “I had some idiot go Old Testament on me and he got an Old Testament response.”

On coaching through the adversity of a 4-4 season, Swinney said, “Honestly, we haven’t had much adversity around here in 13 years. It’s been a long time. Losing a National Championship isn’t adversity. We’ve won seven out of eight ACC titles, we’ve been to six playoffs, six final fours, we got a couple National Championships the past seven years… nobody feels sorry for the Tigers. Even though you have some disappointment and maybe a little failure along the way, we really haven’t had much adversity, like true adversity.”

“I’m thankful for the struggle. I’m thankful for the opportunity to teach in a way that I haven’t had a chance to teach in a long time. Sit back and just enjoy the journey.”

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