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Dabo Swinney pops off on teleconference about ungrateful fanbase, threatens to leave

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney works the Sidelines. The Clemson Tigers faced the South Carolina Gamecocks at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, Saturday, November 24, 2018. Gwinn Davis / Special to The Post and Courier

CLEMSON — Dabo Swinney has no tolerance for anyone who wants to discount his No. 2 Clemson football team's 21-point win over South Carolina on Saturday night. The Clemson football coach made that abundantly clear Sunday evening when he popped off on the ACC Championship teleconference, unprompted, ranting and raving about what he seems to perceive as ungrateful fans. 

The annual ACC Championship teleconference is typically a calm, reflective call where the two coaches playing in the game express their gratitude for the task at hand ahead and keep answers down the line. 

That wasn't the case Sunday, when Swinney went off the rails, speaking directly to fans and media who specifically might have felt like Clemson's 21-point win against the Gamecocks resembled a loss. The Clemson coach threatened to leave the program if it ever got to the point where winning by even just one point wasn't enough and he laid into anyone and everyone whose thought process he disagreed with on this particular matter. 

"I just want to win by one more point. If that ever gets to where that's not enough, then it's time for me to move on somewhere else. I ain't never going to apologize for a 21-point win over a state rival, ever," he began. 

"You people who suggest it felt like a loss, y'all need to check yourself, too. I've been here 16 years and for all those people out there who want to complain about five wins in a row and winning by three touchdowns, man that's shameful. That's a lack of respect for our program and a lack of respect for the effort that these players and coaches put in. I hope you write that. 

"The senior class has won 52 games and we've got people complaining. Give me a break. If 12-0 ain't good enough, then it's time to seek other places. Make sure you get that. I'm going to say it one more time: We've got eight 10-plus win seasons, we're 12-0. It's the third time in the history of this school we've won five state championships in a row. And when that's not enough for some people, that's sad. That's sad." 

Clemson's secondary was dreadful against the Gamecocks, which is where much of the fan frustration had to have stemmed from, and Swinney's own defensive coordinator Brent Venables used the words "embarrassing" and "disgusting" and "pathetic" to self-assess the job he did against South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley's passing attack. 

Bentley set a record for the most yards by a Gamecocks quarterback against a Clemson team with 510 yards through the air and five touchdowns. He was masterful in every regard, and Clemson now has gaping holes on tape for other downfield-slinging quarterbacks to salivate over. 

But Swinney, who was up front about how poorly his defense played, obviously felt like those secondary narratives trumped the reality that the Tigers won by three touchdowns and beat South Carolina for the fifth straight time — a task that had not been accomplished by Clemson since 1940. 

"There have been some articles pushed my way and some comments from people," he said. "I'm not going to stand for that. It's too hard to win. Too hard to win. These players work too hard. The goal is to win. Period. That's just the way it is. So I don't ever want to be a program - ever - that doesn't appreciate winning.

"And when you win by three touchdowns in a state championship and you've got people who can't appreciate that? That's really sad. Man that's really sad. Just look around college football. There's a lot of places out there that would love to have the program that we have here. I can assure that." 

Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor

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