Dabo Swinney did not go around asking every player if they were washing their hands every second before they left for spring break last Friday. As the head coach pointed out, the Clemson football players are grown men. They know why it is important right now to be washing their hands and doing the little things to make sure they are not infected with the coronavirus.
“We all know that if you are around somebody that is sick, you can get sick,” Swinney said. “You pick up viruses anywhere. We can all get the flu. We all know that as a norm, but this is just kind of a different deal that can spread fast and you can catch it or whatever.
“We were just trying to be really emphatic about washing your hands, trying to stay away from sick people. If you are sick, make sure you let somebody know and just trying to communicate the best you can and taking the advice the people give you.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the advice Clemson and everyone else in the ACC got was not advice but instead a ruling. The ACC canceled all athletic related activities in the league, including all competition and practice through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Of course, that means spring football practice, too.
The unanimous decision was made to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19. Each institution will continue to work in accordance with its respective university and state policies related to its individual campus decisions.
So, Clemson’s spring football practices are over, which Swinney and his team knew was a possibility when they broke for spring break following last Wednesday’s stadium scrimmage at Death Valley.
As it turned out, the Tigers practiced more this spring than any team in the ACC and only one opponent on its 2020 schedule had more practices … The Citadel, which completed spring drills on March 7.
“The good news for us is we had a huge scrimmage and got a lot of work done,” Swinney said after Pro Day last Thursday. “If we don’t get another practice, I feel good about what we have been able to get done.”
So, what’s next for the Clemson football team? With the Clemson campus closed through April 5, what will the Tigers be able to do when it gets back from spring break?
The answer? Not much, at least as a team.
“We will do whatever is necessary and whatever the recommendations are,” Swinney said. “They are not going to come from me. They’re going to come from the people who are studying this stuff every single day.”
Until campus opens back up, the players are on their own as far as working out and getting themselves prepared for the 2020 season. The Allen Reeves Football Complex, like all buildings on Clemson’s campus, is closed. The coaches will be working remotely when they get back from taking the week off. The players will have to work out from their own homes, whether it is at an off-campus apartment or at their parents’ house in their hometown.
“We will respond and get a plan together based on our direction from our leadership and we will go from there,” Swinney said. “The biggest thing is making sure everybody is safe and there are no issues. We can do the learning online. However, we have to do that and try to finish the semester the way we want to.
“We will just roll with it.”
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