Clemson’s Swinney: Tiger fans don’t know how to handle struggling team

D.J. Uiagalelei, Savion Jackson, Will Shipley, Tanner Ingle

North Carolina State’s Savion Jackson (90) tackles Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei (5) as the left leg of Clemson running back Will Shipley (1) gets caught with North Carolina State’s Tanner Ingle (10) also defending during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says fans of his football program don’t know how to act or what to say with the Tigers struggling through their season.

Swinney says normally friendly faces now avoid his gaze and he gets plenty of “praying for you” texts as the once-mighty Tigers have been humbled this season.

“People don’t want to make eye contact with me, man. Like I’ve got the plague. Getting a lot of ‘praying for you texts.’ Got random people dropping letters in my mailbox. It’s like you got a stink on you and nobody wants to be around you,” he said Wednesday evening.

Clemson looks to bounce back from its 27-17 loss to No. 17 Pittsburgh when the Tigers face Florida State on Saturday.

“I can always look back and see very necessary struggle growing pains. That’s where we are. It’s been a year of disappointment, transition, struggle, all of those things. There will be some good that springs from it,” he said.

The Tigers have won the last five against the Seminoles.

Florida State is trending in the other direction with three straight win after opening the season with four losses in a row.

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