Dabo upset after reporter's question: 'That's baloney. That's what that is'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday November 08, 2016

Clemson wide receiver Artavis Scott’s numbers are down from a year ago, but Dabo Swinney went off a bit after a reporter brought up the topic on Tuesday.

Last year, Scott had 93 catches for 901 yards and 6 touchdowns in 15 games. This year, he has 38 catches for 329 yards and 3 TDs in 9 games. But the Tigers have more weapons this year, like Mike Williams (who missed almost all of last year due to injury), and Ray-Ray McCloud and Hunter Renfrow also returned. Scott is second on the team in catches.

A reporter said he asked Scott if it was frustrating, and Scott said it was, and when the reporter brought it up to Swinney, the coach shot back with a 3-minute rant. Here were Swinney’s full comments. (Video below)

“I don’t understand why y’all would ask that question. I really don’t. He’s the second-leading receiver on the team. How many catches does he have? I think he’s second on the team. He’s got 38. You know how many the leading receiver from Pitt’s got? Twenty-something, their leading receiver. Why would we even ask that question? Trying to create some drama? Oh, so ‘Artavis, are you disappointed your numbers are down?’ Is that how the question’s asked? That’s baloney. That’s what that is. That’s trying to create some drama. ‘Are you disappointed your numbers are down?'

“His numbers ain’t down. How about the fact he’s got 38 catches? He’s the second-leading receiver at Clemson. That’s what I’m talking about. I don’t understand why we ask that question. It’s like we don’t have any drama, so we want to create some. ‘Are you disappointed?’ Don’t put words in his mouth and lead him down that path. Artavis is as committed and as good a leader we’ve got on this team. Wayne Gallman would like to get 30 carries a game, too. Is that going be the next one? ‘Wayne, are you disappointed you only got 10 carries last week? Do you want to get 30?’ I don’t get that stuff.

“How about let’s celebrate the team. We’ve got a bunch of good players. Everybody wants to touch the ball more. There’s one ball. Good lord. How about let’s talk about how good he’s done with the opportunities. How about the fact he’s played slot, he’s played this, he’s jumped in at punt return. He’s done a little bit of everything. He made the biggest play in the Louisville game that you could possibly have, on the kick return. This kid’s a great football player. He ain’t had a down year, and I don’t want that rhetoric out there. He’s had a great year. A great year. Not a down year. It’s not about that. It ain’t about that. It doesn’t matter.

“Everybody’s got opportunities. Ray-Ray was a true freshman last year. So Ray-Ray doesn’t deserve to play? What do we do, leave him on the bench? He’s pretty good, too. Last year, Ray-Ray was a true freshman learning how to play, and Artavis was a veteran who knew how to play. Now we’ve got two veterans that deserve to play, and they get opportunities to touch the ball.

“(Hunter) Renfrow, he’s been pretty good. How many catches does he got? Probably less than them guys. ‘Renfrow, are you going to transfer after the year? You only had 20 catches.’ I just don’t like that. It drives me nuts. We’re trying to create some kind of drama on a football team where there isn’t any.”

The local media’s job isn’t to “celebrate” the team, as Swinney put it, but facts are that Scott numbers are down. He had 56 catches at this point this year. But Swinney’s also right that there are a lot more weapons on this team, and he clearly doesn’t like the idea of a question meant to draw a negative response that could lead to a headline like that.

Clemson hosts Pitt this Saturday. Here was Swinney’s full response.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.