This Saturday’s game against Duke in the Tigers’ ACC regular-season finale is a special one for head coach Dabo Swinney as he commemorates the seniors on his team.
Swinney told the media during his weekly press conference on Tuesday that saying good-bye to his seniors never gets easy, especially with this group. He has admired how this group has taken such pride in their legacy and what they leave behind.
The Tigers will support the military by wearing their purple uniforms against Duke at Death Valley. The game will kick off at 7 p.m.
Swinney on his senior class
“They have brought a lot of joy to my life just being around them and watching them grow. To me that’s the best part of coaching. I think about some of these young guys. Austin Bryant, the first time you meet this guy he’s a little kid, and Adam Choice … their transformation of who they are and know that they have some ups and downs. Just seeing them as men and to know that they are so well equipped for what’s going to come next. I’ve just enjoyed all of my time with them. These guys have been with me four or five years. It’s special. It really is.”
Swinney on if it gets easier to say goodbye to his seniors
“No, it gets harder to be honest with you. You get close to these guys. You spend a ton of time…a ton of time with these guys. Seniors have always been special to me. Those guys are the most invested. They’ve been here. They’ve done the right things. Some of these guys are already graduates. It does not get easier. It’s like when (Will Swinney) left my house, it wasn’t any easier when Drew left the house, and it won’t be any easier with Clay. It will be worse.”
Swinney on how it’s fun to start with a new group each year
“That’s always the fun part for me too is starting over. It’s a new team and new chemistry and new leadership and new roles. Some roles carry over, but you still start over. I’m just focused on where I’m at and enjoying today and these last moments that we have with this group.”
Swinney on the attitude of this Senior class
“What’s so special about this particular group is they have really taken ownership of what they are leaving behind more than any other group I have had. It’s really important to them how they are impacting the young players on this team…the standard and model. They take pride in that. It’s very unique to see. We will have a bunch of guys that will be ready to step up next year.”
Swinney on educating his players on Military Appreciation Day
“We talk about it every year. That is something we will talk about later on in the week with the guys…Memorial Stadium and the Scroll of Honor and this is a military school. The last year we were a military school was in 1955. It was an all-male military school up until then. Sometimes our guys are surprised to hear that, some of the new guys coming in.”