TigerIllustrated - Swinney speaks out on Florida State's decision to postpone Saturday's game
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Swinney speaks out on Florida State's decision to postpone Saturday's game

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CLEMSON -- Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney addressed members of the media Sunday night in his weekly teleconference, this time to talk about the off-the-field drama from Saturday where the Tigers' noon matchup with Florida State was postponed.

The following is a brief, edited, transcript of Sunday's teleconference.

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Initial remarks (Dabo Swinney): "We had people travel from all over the country. We met the standard to play. We should have played. We have mitigated this all year long. All year. If the standard to play was zero positive tests, we would have never played. This game was not played because of Covid-19. To me, the Florida State administration forfeited the game. If they want to play, they should come to Clemson.

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"From my perspective, this is in the rear view mirror. My focus, our focus, 1000-percent, is on Pitt."

Q: Did you call Coach Norvell?

Swinney: “No. This was bigger than me and Coach Norvell.”

Dabo Swinney would like to finish out the season with another opportunity at a national championship on the line.
Dabo Swinney would like to finish out the season with another opportunity at a national championship on the line. (AP)

Q: Was the ACC involved in any way? John Swofford?

Swinney: “I never talked with Commissioner Swofford. That would be a question for Dan (Radakovich)."

Q: How did the players react to the news?

Swinney: “They weren’t happy. They were ticked. Most people have no idea what goes into preparation, a week’s worth of preparation. You sacrifice so much. These guys have gone to such extremes to be able to play. Listen, if there were an issue, the standard isn’t met and we didn’t play, that’s one thing. But that has not happened here. We will keep moving forward. That’s the way this year has been. Our team has risen to the occasion every week all season. It’s just unfortunate that it did not happen.”

Q: You said you didn’t think this was related to Covid-19. Why do you think this game was not played?

Swinney: “I cannot answer that. I just know the standard to play was met. I just know they called the game. So now we’re changing the rules? You either trusts the tests or you don’t. So now if guys tests negative, you don’t travel? If a guy has an ear ache or a runny nose, you don’t take him even if he tests negative? Bottom line is the rules were put in place for everyone. We met the rules. We met the standard. They chose not to play.

“This is why we test every Friday. That’s why we wear masks and shields.”

Q: How does this affect your routine?

Swinney: “Typically Saturday we break down the previous game. It just allows us to get further ahead on Pitt today.”

Q: Do you see this potentially changing the relationship between your administration and Florida State's?

Swinney: “I have no idea. You can ask Dan that. I feel bad for their players, too. There’s no way anybody can convince me that their players did not want to play.”

Q: If the ACC orders you back to Tallahassee to play, are you going?

Swinney: “That’s a question for Dan. That’s an awful lot of money. We were there, we were ready and we met the standards to play. There was no reason to cancel the game. That’s $300,000 just gone out the window. So your question is for Dan.”

Q: If their concern was that one guy tested positive, what other reason was given for not playing?

Swinney: “If that’s their concern, why did they play this year? I have seen no examples of that. Zero. If that is their worry, they shouldn’t have played the season. We test on Friday, guys. We all know that. The standard to play was met. Trevor Lawrence practiced all week. Boston College had no problem coming down here. Notre Dame didn’t have a problem playing us.”

Q: How much sharing of information has there been among coaches and teams in terms of positives and contact tracing?

Swinney: “You can ask all the medical people all that. I’m not an MD. I’m just coaching the team and we have done everything within the rules. Everything we have done is based on what the league has put forth.”

Q: When did you get the first inkling that there might have been an issue with the game going forward?

Swinney: “Saturday morning. I found out that we had a positive Friday evening. We flew him home by himself. But I didn’t know anything but all of this until early Saturday morning … that there was concern about not playing because of a Friday test. This is why the rosters were expanded. Now all of a sudden we have amnesia on that.”

Q: Will there be more thorough discussions between ya’ll and Va. Tech?

Swinney: “That’s a question for the medical people. We have traveled several times this year. We had breakfast in the parking lot at Tallahassee. We had a tent revival. Apparently (their) medical team changed their minds in Tallahassee.”

Q: Have you talked with some of your friends in coaching circles about this and how do they feel?

Swinney: “Yeah I have talked to a couple and they feel the same way I feel.”

Q: Some early thoughts on Pitt.

Swinney: “Tough. Well-coached. They had a couple of tough games along the way. They are a physical group with great effort and they’re well-coached. They are built to stop the run. They are going to challenge you to be in tight coverage. Offensively, they are a 11-10 personnel team and will throw the ball. They throw and catch as well as anyone we have played. They have a lot of confidence. It is our last home game, Military Appreciation Day. It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that. It seems like a long year, but at the same time it has flown by. We are honoring some amazing seniors.”

Q: What was the conversation like with the team yesterday morning?

Swinney: “Disappointing. I told them what had happened and then we talked about our plan moving forward. We got them fed and then we scrambled to get pilots and then we let them know when we would be pulling out. They had family there and a lot of people had flown in to be there. They were disappointed.”

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