CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- Coach Dabo Swinney smiles when thinking about the challenges Clemson faces this season.
He has just 11 seniors this fall, a suspended star for Clemson's opener against Auburn and plenty of supporters still smoldering over the record-setting Orange Bowl flop against West Virginia.
But the fourth-year coach always looks at things with a glass-half-full perspective.
Swinney believes his defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions are close to achieving even greater success than they have the past three years.
He says there are hurdles to overcome, none bigger than the perception Clemson's a program full of problems. Certainly, no one including Swinney, was happy when the Tigers surrendered a bowl-record number of points to the Mountaineers in that 70-33 loss.
Swinney hired longtime Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables to fix the breakdowns.