Dabo Swinney put the bow on the 2012 season with his postseason wrap with the media Friday afternoon. The Tigers won eclipsed the 11 win mark for the first time in 22 years, capped by an impressive win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. This was Swinney’s fourth full season running the Tigers program and sans a step back in year two, they have moved forward in each of those years.
Below are a few bullet point highlights of Swinney’s top quotes followed by some audio from his opening statement. We will have more from Swinney’s news conference posted shortly, including his thoughts on Tajh Boyd’s decision to stay for his final year and Nuk Hopkins decision to leave for the draft.
- “Looking back on 20012 it was really a great year for us,” Swinney said. I’m proud of our team and proud of our staff. …I think that this year was just a culmination of steady progress really of the past four years. One of the things I told our team is four years ago we hadn’t even won our division. Now we’ve won three of them, two outright and one co-championship.”
- Swinney was very pleased with what the team accomplished en route to an 11-2 season. “We talked a lot about trying to win ten or more games and become one of those national teams that is ranked and become one of those national teams that is ranked and we’ve been able to do that. So I am proud about their commitment to that.
- Swinney said winning at home is important to him and noted this team set the record for most consecutive home wins. The Tigers have only lost two homes games since 2010, both were against USC.
- Swinney believes the Chick-fil-A-Bowl win over LSU is a clear sign his program has taken the step into elite status: “Before we played LSU one of the things I told them was you can’t win 12 until you win 11. And you can’t win the national championship until you learn to win games like this. Everything is an opportunity to learn and everything is always an opportunity to grow. We are always studying, always trying to get better, and always trying to correct mistakes
- Swinney said he is more proud of the fact his team is top 10 academically than he is the fact they finished in the top 10 in the final Coaches poll. He said that is what it is all about to him. “That’s what we are trying to be. We are trying to be the best we can possibly be in every area, not just on the field.”
- With 2012 in the review mirror Swinney has his sights on taking Clemson to the top of the college football world: “We are going to continue to try to close the gap on being the best out there because that’s what we want to be. Because that’s our goal: we want to be the best. We don’t want to be one of the best, we want to be the best and I think we are heading in that direction”