Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney cannot wait to kick things off Saturday when his second-ranked Tigers host Furman in the season-opener at Death Valley in Clemson.
Swinney is so excited he will not even stretch before touching Howard’s Rock and charging down the Hill onto Frank Howard Field in full sprint just prior to kickoff.
“Have you ever seen a dog stretch before he runs off the porch,” Swinney said. “There ain’t much for me to stretch in there, Man. I just go!”
Like their head coach, the Tigers are anxious to get on the field too when the game kicks off at 12:20 p.m.
“I’m tired of hitting Mitch (Hyatt) every day,” defensive end Clelin Ferrell said. “We can’t wait! It is something we have been looking forward to ever since the day after the Sugar Bowl loss. So I am excited. I can’t wait.”
Swinney is also excited to see the true freshmen, not just how they play, but when they run down the hill for the first time and experience everything that comes with game day on a fall Saturday afternoon in Clemson.
“They all have a level of improvement, and then for some of these guys it is just going to see them for the very first time run down the hill. First time in the locker room on game day, first time at the hotel with them during our Friday night operation, our Saturday routine and the bus ride,” Swinney said. “Some of these guys that you recruited and stuff and now it is finally an opportunity for them to be here.
“It is pretty cool. So, I’m excited to see them all.”
Ferrell says this off-season has been the longest one he can remember since he came to Clemson as a freshman in 2015. He knows a lot of the reason is because of all the hype about him and his fellow defensive linemates—Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Christian Wilkins—have received, and because they’re anxious to see what this year’s team is like.
“People want to know about us,” he said. “They want to know what we are going to be like this year. To add to that, I want to see how we respond after the (Sugar Bowl) loss from last year, there are a mixture of things as far as the off-season workouts, the practice and the dealing with the media … the good and the bad.
“So, it is probably the longest off-season. But, we have enjoyed it because we know that we are on the verge of something special if everything goes well.”