Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has often been amused by the intersection of college football and social media. He’s been known to tell reporters, “Tweet that!” when reacting to something passionately.
So predictably, Swinney had a reaction to the odd events of the last week, including some Tennessee fans apparently aborting the Vols’ decision to hire Ohio State’s Greg Schiano as their next coach.
“If there had been a cyber jury back in ’08, I wouldn’t have this job,” Swinney said Friday, referring to then-athletic director Terry Don Phillips promoting him to interim head coach, then taking off the interim tag following the season.
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“I’m glad Terry Don didn’t take a poll” of fans, Swinney added.
News of Jimbo Fisher leaving Florida State for Texas A&M broke as Swinney and Miami coach Mark Richt did their news conferences before Saturday’s ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium.
Richt was ousted after a long tenure as Georgia’s coach. Now he has the Hurricanes 10-1 and in the ACC title game for the first time.
“I’ve been through it,” Richt said of Fisher leaving one Power 5 school for another. “(Coaching) job changes happen for different reasons.”
Swinney said it’s ironic Clemson has a nonconference series with Texas A&M the next two seasons, so Fisher will be right back in the business of looking to beat the Tigers.
Big losses for Miami receiving
The Hurricanes have lost two significant receivers over the past week: Christopher Herndon, one of college football’s top tight ends, and wideout Ahmmon Richards are both out the rest of the season with knee injuries.
Combined, they accounted for 64 of Miami’s 202 receptions this season, and 916 of the Hurricanes’ 2,840 receiving yards.
“We’ve won a lot of games without Ahmmon being there the whole time; he’s been dealing with injuries all season,” Richt said. “It’s not about remaking the system. It’s just making the plays that we ordinarily practice at an extraordinary time.”
With Clemson so much closer to Charlotte geographically, and Miami a smaller, private college, there’s a sense Saturday night will essentially be a Tigers home game, as far as crowd. However, the Miami Herald reported 20,000 or more Hurricanes fans might make the trip to Charlotte.
“I’m not shocked they’re coming in droves,” Richt said. “Some are driving, some are flying. Probably some will buy winter gear, because they don’t have anything (to wear) for cooler weather.”
The Charlotte forecast for Saturday is a high of 55 and a low of 40, with the chance of rain.
Swinney has been asked constantly this week about Miami’s turnover chain, a piece of jewelry with an orange-and-green “U” logo worn by any defensive player who recovers a fumble or picks off an interception. The Hurricanes have the best giveaway-takeaway ratio in FBS football this season.
However, Swinney reminded Friday the Tigers are pretty good in that area as well. By Swinney’s accounting, the Tigers have scored 77 points this season off turnovers to Miami’s 72. Clemson scored a non-offensive touchdown in each of five road games.
“If we were 5-5 and had (forced) five turnovers, people would be making fun of the thing,” Richt said of the turnover chain. “The chain has been a huge part (of Miami’s season). It is Miami. That’s kind of how we roll down there. And it’s pure fun."
Richt, a Miami alumnus, has had quick impact with the Hurricanes. As Swinney said this week, there’s massive football talent to recruit each year within 30 miles of Miami’s Coral Gables campus.
Richt said Clemson’s years of fruitful recruiting is striking when you scout them in preparation for a game: “It takes cycles of (great recruiting classes) to get like Clemson. You look at the tape and say, ‘Wow! Who are all these guys!’”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell