If you simply took Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney's reaction to Monday's transfer portal question Tuesday, you might think he was a tad testy.
"The weekly transfer portal question," Swinney first responded. "Who got the short stick this week? Who's asking this question next week?"
The thing is, he's been asked about this several times this year, and that can be frustrating, but the reason he keeps getting it is not just because inquiring media minds want to know, but also because the fans do as well.
It's an impossible question to answer, though, five games into a season in which everyone is questioning his offense and what's wrong in the middle of the season. But his lastest feisty press conference answer regarding why he didn't address any roster issues by using the NCAA transfer portal might be the one that puts this topic to bed...until the offseason.
"I wouldn’t do anything differently," Swinney said. "Doing something differently means I wouldn’t have taken the kids that we took. I love all of the players we’ve got here. Injuries are part of game. There is nothing you can do and you can only sign so many players. We all get 85, that’s it. And, you know, we were going to sign two running backs. Well guess what? We signed two running backs.
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“Should I have gone to the transfer portal and taken a veteran over (Will) Shipley and (Phil) Mafah because Shipley got hurt? I’m not. Maybe you would if you’re the head coach and you can do whatever you want, but I wouldn’t change anything. Again, I’m not opposed to the transfer portal. I’m not. I’m not some anti-transfer portal guy."
To be fair, the questions about potentially using the transfer portal haven't really revolved around running back, but we get the point. And Swinney isn't wrong about anything he said.
Could Clemson have used a veteran offensive line presence to help depth in case the younger players like Marcus Tate weren't ready Week 1? Absolutely, and that's not hard to argue. But Swinney didn't see a player like that, in his judgment, and the head coach of his caliber deserves the benefit of the doubt.
"If we need to use the portal, we’ll use it," Swinney said. "But I’m not going to do something just to do something. I don’t know why everybody keeps asking me that. The transfer portal has always been around, it’s just been grad guys. But there’s not been anybody from a grad transfer standpoint that could come here, that I felt like, and start. And so, we’d rather take the high school kid.
“I think it was worked pretty good, you know? There’s been a lot of things ya’ll have asked me over the years, 'Why haven’t you done this and why haven’t you done that?’ I think we’ve done alright. We’re not 3-2 because we advent signed somebody from the transfer portal. Give me a break.”
In this situation, maybe Swinney, a two-time national championship-winning head coach, should get one. That doesn't mean he shouldn't or won't learn from this season and maybe think ahead more in terms of how he can use the portal to enhance his team. He never said that he won't.
That's fair, and so are the questions he's getting. Unfortunately for Swinney, there are simply no "good" answers when you've gone from a top-5 preseason team to 3-2 by mid-October.