The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY)

Clemson’s Swinney still frustrated with FSU postponeme­nt

- By Pete Iacobelli

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney remains frustrated about postponing the Tigers game against Florida State, a decision he sees as an insult to his program’s credibilit­y.

While the Tigers’ players and staff have apparently turned the page, it not quite as easy for Swinney, who touts a “windshield mentality,” to let go of how the game was called off.

When asked about the decision again Tuesday, Swinney dug in once more.

“I know what the rules are, I know what they were and I knowwemet the standard to play,” he said. “And we didn’t play.”

It’s the latest in the verbal sparring between the the schools.

On Sunday, Swinney said Florida State administra­tors used COVID-19 as an “excuse” to postpone the game.

A day later, Swinney said on his radio call-in showthe decision was an “insult to the credibilit­y of our program and the credibilit­y of our medical people.”

The spat started when an unidentifi­ed Clemson reserve offensive lineman, who had shown symptoms associated with coronaviru­s earlier in the week and had tested negative for the illness, had a positive test result on Friday after the teamhadflo­wn toTallahas­see, Florida for the game.

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced the postponeme­nt Saturday morning a few hours before kickoff, sayingmedi­cal advisors from both could could not agree it was safe to play.

Seminoles coach Mike Norvell weighed inMonday when asked, saying he and his players wanted to play andwere as disappoint­ed as the Tigers at the postponeme­nt. He said his team’s safety was paramount and that the right decision was made in calling things off.

“Football coaches are not doctors, some of us might think that we are,” Norvell said.

Swinney, asked about Norvell’s comment, kept the back- and-forth going Tuesday.

“I’m not a doctor, I’m just trying to listen to the doctors,” Swinney said. “Listen, I’mnot really worried about what they say down there in Tallahasse­e, that’s for sure. I’ve been in this league 18 years, head coach here 12. They’ve had three head

coaches in four years.

“I’m not going worry about the advice from Tallahasse­e,” he continued. “I trust the people here. I trust our doctors, 100%.”

Clemson quarterbac­k Trevor Lawrence, who missed two games after testing positive for COVIDlastm­onth, was disappoint­ed he couldn’t return to the field last week for the first time since Oct. 24.

The quarterbac­k said what Swinney says to reporters and TV networks isn’t the message he’s sending to the Tigers (7-1, 6-1 ACC). Lawrence said the team’s focus is on gameplanni­ng to face Pittsburgh (5- 4, 4- 4 ) on Saturday night.

“We’re all good over here,” Lawrence said.

That shift began shortly after Clemson learned of the postponeme­nt. Tigers defensive coordinato­r Brent Venables had players watching film of the Panthers as the group waited to fly home earlier than expected.

Players understand and appreciate Swinney’s view, knowing he simply wants the best for them, Lawrence said.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of backlash going on social media right now,” Lawrence said. “As a leader, coach Swinney is great atwhat he does and we’ve got his back through thick and thin.”

Athletic director Dan Radakovich has said he’ll talk with the ACC about rescheduli­ng the Florida State game. Both teams have Saturday, Dec. 12 off, although nothing has been finalized.

 ?? MATT CASHORE - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020file photo, Clemson quarterbac­k Trevor Lawrence (16) leaves the field with his teammates after Clemson lost to Notre Dame 47-40in two overtimes during an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind.
MATT CASHORE - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020file photo, Clemson quarterbac­k Trevor Lawrence (16) leaves the field with his teammates after Clemson lost to Notre Dame 47-40in two overtimes during an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind.

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