The only thing that did not go right for Clemson’s football team all year happened Wednesday on the ESPYS Red Carpet Show on ESPN.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was asked to open the ESPYS’ Red Carpet in Los Angeles by cutting the tape for the event, but the big scissors host Hanna Storm gave him did not work. They made the best of the moment, though, and just dropped the tape.
Swinney is joined at the ESPYS by running back Travis Etienne, wide receiver Justyn Ross, cornerback A.J. Terrell and linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The Tigers are at the annual awards show as a nominee for best team.
Clemson, of course, is being honored for its 15-0 season in 2018, the first team in major college football to post a 15-0 record since 1897. The Tigers beat previously unbeaten Alabama, 44-16, to win the program its third national championship and its second in the last three years.
The ESPYS will air on ABC tonight at 8 p.m.
“This is amazing,” Swinney said to Storm. “We are getting ready to crank it back up, but to be able to fly out here and spend some time with these guys, this is great. All four of these guys are coming back and they had huge plays in the game. Isaiah Simmons, Travis Etienne, A.J. Terrell and Justyn Ross. It has been a lot of fun.
“After this is over tonight, we are ready to get back to work.”
Clemson is scheduled to begin fall camp at the end of this month. The Tigers will enter the 2019 football season as one of the favorites to win the national championship, again, especially with Ross, Etienne, Simmons and Terrell joining quarterback Trevor Lawrence and wide receiver Tee Higgins as stars from last year’s team that are returning.
As usual, expectations are high at Clemson.
“For us it really is just business as usual,” Swinney said. “We have been a very good team for a long time. We have played in three national championships in the last four years. We have had eight ten-plus win seasons, so we start over.
“The same things that won the last seven years will win this year and that is commitment, dedication, work ethic, character, family, trust and respect, communication and everybody buying into the core values of our program. So, it is really no different. And then it is about putting the work in. You don’t get to start on second base. You have to start over just like everybody else and prove it.”
Storm then asked Swinney what is the reason for Clemson’s consistent success the last eight years.
“It all goes back to the people buying in,” he said. “To the core values that we have and the common purpose we have in place, and ultimately it comes down to the people. It is who we recruit. It is not just talented players. It’s good people and then it is developing the talent.
“We have an unbelievable coaching staff. We have a lot of continuity. We enjoy each other, but at the end of the day, the credit goes to the players because they have to buy in. So, the leadership and accountability that we have been able to consistently establish over the last eight to ten years is what sustains you. That is the main thing. You can win a few games with talent, but the character and the work ethic are what sustains you.”