Dabo Swinney has heard it time and time again from critics. He was able to fight off those fires with multiple National Championship wins, but now that his approach is seemingly no longer working, many are taking aim at Clemson’s head coach’s failure to adapt to the modern era of college football.
And it’s clearly affected his program. That was on full display during Clemson’s 28-7 loss to Duke this past Monday. And while arguments have been made that not taking players from the transfer portal isn’t why the Tigers lost Monday’s game, it certainly is why the program may no longer be among CFB’s elite.
Everyone has an opinion on why Clemson isn’t executing or competing at a high level, but Fox Sports lead college football analyst Joel Klatt believes it starts at the top. Klatt recently said on his The Joel Klatt Show that the current issue(s) at Clemson stem from roster building.
"I think it's clear, painfully, that Clemson has both failed to adapt on and off the field."@JoelKlatt dissects why Clemson has fallen from the mountaintop of elite college football programs ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/iHOHhoY6aP
— The Joel Klatt Show: A CFB Pod (@JoelKlattShow) September 6, 2023
“I think there is a clear personnel issue at Clemson,” Klatt said following Clemson’s 21-point loss in Durham. “Maybe that’s the fact that Dabo has not adjusted or adapted as it relates to staff. I mean, he kept the same staff forever. I kind of commend him for that, to be quite honest with you. Those men got him to the mountaintop and then he kept them there for a long time. But the fact remains, they were not recruiting at the same level. A lot of factors in that, but their personnel right now is not where it needs to be on the field. They have not acquired the talent, nor developed the talent to play at the upper echelons of college football. Because that’s the expectation, right?
“For Clemson, I think that it is, particularly if you have a track record of two national titles since 2015 and six-straight Playoffs from 2015 to 2020. That’s what we expect.”
Klatt said the failure to adapt for a coaching staff can happen on the field and it can happen off the field.
“I think it’s clear, painfully, that Clemson has both failed to adapt on and off the field. Dabo is unapologetically against NIL and the transfer portal. Completely against it. Will not embrace it. He has been so public against it that it’s going to end up hurting him, because the fanbase, if you’re a Clemson fan you’re like, ‘Hold on, you can’t play Monopoly and decided on your own that you’re not going to buy any houses on property you own because you don’t think it’s right.’ While everybody else buys houses. You’re gonna lose. There’s no other way around that.”
We’ll have to see if Clemson can bounce back from its loss at Duke, but Klatt’s comments are pretty incriminating in regards to the future of the program.