Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney engaged with reporters on a variety of topics at Clemson’s annual Media Day, Tuesday, including the recent expansion of the Big Ten, how his team handled not winning the ACC title for the first time since 2014 and what he expects after elevating Brandon Streeter, Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn into coordinator positions.
Swinney expressed complete confidence in his new lieutenants, and is expecting large strides forward for his quarterback, D.J. Uiagalelei. Swinney said Uiagalelei has greatly improved his body composition and loves how he finished up last season. Swinney thinks last year’s adversity helped Uiagalelei develop the mental toughness that is crucial to success at the quarterback position.
And while the college football world has been caught up in the possibility of more expansion further upsetting the balance of the sport, Swinney says he has paid it little mind, choosing to focus on things within his control. He was pressed on the potential effects of a widening payout gap between the Big Ten/SEC and the rest of college football, answering that “Clemson is incredibly blessed” and has “all that it needs to win.” Swinney did acknowledge, however, that it was a valid question and that the landscape of the sport is changing rapidly.
On the field, Swinney is excited to see Cade Klubnik and Uiagalelei compete. He said Klubnik is up to 195 lbs. (from 179) and Uiagalelei has shed 25-30 lbs., leaving both players the best physical versions of themselves. Swinney also heaped praise on the group that will be protecting the quarterbacks. He said that Will Putnam is “absolutely the starter at center,” having earned that distinction with his work in the Spring.