NEW ORLEANS — Two of the quirkiest men in a college football universe full of quirky men shared a stage Sunday morning.
In their final press conference before Monday's College Football Playoff national championship game in the Superdome, coach Dabo Swinney and LSU's Ed Orgeron spoke in their respective, distinctive styles, charming the assembled media in New Orleans.
Both said their public personas align with what they are like behind the scenes. And it's their confidence to stand in their skin, Swinney and Orgeron said, that's helped them each build successful programs.
"I'm very proud of being Cajun," Orgeron said in the booming voice that's endeared him to fans. "People that made fun of my accent before, I thank them. That gave me internal motivation to do better."
"I don't know how to be somebody else," Swinney said. "All I know how to do is be myself, and if that's not good enough, it's not good enough."
Swinney at one point was asked to describe the past decade in one word.
"Transformative," he said, smiling. Then came the punch line. "Is that a word?"
The Clemson coach in recent years has been cast as the goofy, fun foil to the more stoic, staid Alabama coach Nick Saban. Orgeron this season has become the fun coach, with his distinctive voice and vernacular.
Swinney, though, was not to be outdone Monday. People often ask him, he said, of the origin of his first name.
"Sometimes I just didn't want to tell, so I'd say, well, I'm Cajun. D-A-B-E-A-U-X. Dabeaux." he said. "I kind of feel at home here, too."