Like so many other things in this world the coronavirus is affecting, the Clemson Football Program is having to adjust, as is its current and former players.
On Thursday, Clemson University announced classes will be held on online for its students at least through March 30. The Atlantic Coast Conference also suspended athletic competition and all practices until further notice.
Lucky for Clemson’s former players, they were able to participate in its annual pro day at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility before the school and the ACC made its announcements.
After practice, Swinney was asked if the coronavirus could hurt the opportunity of some of his former players, who are hoping to either have their named called in April’s NFL Draft or be signed as an undrafted free agent.
“No, I don’t. I really don’t,” he said. “These guys have years of tape. We have played in a bunch of games. They have had the combine. We had our pro day. You can still get on the phone with somebody and talk to them. You can facetime with somebody if you need to get that visual interaction.
“At the end of that day they just sit back in a chair, kick their feet up and watch some tape. That is what it is ultimately going to come down to. Again, they want to check all the boxes, but they can still get all of that done. I don’t think that will impact their opportunities at all.”
However, the coronavirus is affecting how the current Tigers spend the rest of spring practice. As of right now, there will not be any practices until the ACC says otherwise.
The good news for Clemson is the fact it started spring drills earlier than most schools. The Tigers have already completed nine practices this spring, including a full stadium scrimmage on Wednesday.
Swinney said if they don’t practice again this spring, they will be okay because they have already started the development of their 15 early mid-year enrollees, while also getting tape on their players, so they can evaluate and see where they need to improve.
“We have gotten a lot of work done, and if we do not get another practice, I feel good about what we have been able to get done,” he said. “We will respond, and we will get a plan together based on our direction and our leadership and we will go from there.
“The biggest thing is making sure everybody is safe and there are no issues and we can do the learning online however we have to do that and try to finish the semester where we want to. It seems like things change daily and, hopefully, the needle will start going back the other way just as fast. But that is just where we are right now.”
Swinney can’t imagine how things could have been this summer had the team not at least gotten in the nine practices they did get this spring.
“A lot of valuable development,” he said. “We have 15 mid-years. That is a lot of development for those guys. They have been in a lot of meetings. A lot of corrections. A lot of installation. A lot of just team building, and a lot of team meetings and things by the way we just build our team every year.
“So, we have gotten a lot of that done and we are in good shape. I am glad we were able to do that.”
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