If Clemson is going to have another magical run to college football's playoff, it will have to be done with a new cast of characters.
But at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, it was the old characters who were the topic of conversation.
Head coach Dabo Swinney was asked about having to replace 78% of the team's offensive production. While acknowledging it was a fair question, the coach added that the returning players who have waited their turn are ready to show they are more than adequate replacements.
"I love when you make a comment like that because that's fuel," Swinney said.
"That's that edge that some of those guys need. No one is asking me about Deon Cain yet. He's one of the best receivers in the country. He's had unbelievable moments. Not one word. We're talking about a guy who's gone and I'm focused on the guys who's here."
Later, as his ACC Kickoff media obligations were winding down, he was asked "What haven't you been asked yet?" Swinney again turned the focus on questions surrounding former players - players who helped the Tigers win the national championship, but those players won't be available in 2017.
"Been asked a lot about how we're going to replace the guys who left," he said.
"Not much about Mitch Hyatt or Deon or Kendell Joseph, Austin Bryant, Clelin. No one's really asked me about those guys. I'm sure that's coming at some point. Huegel? No one's asked about my man Huegel."
Swinney later added that the lack of questions by the media on the returning players has been used by the coach to help motivate the players this summer.
"Ya'll have really helped me out a ton," Swinney said.
""Ya'll have made it easy because all spring and all summer, everybody just talks about the guys that are gone. That, to me, creates a great hunger for a lot of these kids that I've got and I think gives us a great edge. because we've got a lot of guys kind of sitting in the back of the room going, 'Hey. You know what? I was recruited too'. They're eager to go prove they're ready to take that next step and have that big role."
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