Despite having football practice with all the protocols in place to help prevent COVID-19, Dabo Swinney and his Clemson Tigers were excited to get back on the field Thursday afternoon, as the top-ranked Tigers opened fall camp.
“Once we got on the field, it was awesome,” the Clemson coach said. “It was just a blessing to be able to get back, and unbelievable energy and excitement by everyone to get back.”
Swinney said he is proud of his players. He said they had an amazing summer despite the challenges they have faced since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut the sports world down for more than two months. Players had limited access to weight training, workouts and nutrition needs with the Allen Reeves Football Complex shut down from March 12-June 8.
“I will tell you, these guys, just like I thought, their commitment really has shinned through because a great majority of our guys are in great shape, worked really hard, their bodyweights are where they need to be,” Swinney said. “On a hot day like this, to see them on the first day, it was awesome.
“The tempo was good. The energy was great. Opening day, and listen, as I told them at the end of practice, tomorrow is not Day Two. It is Day One as well. Everyday is Day One. Everyday is opening day and that has to be the mindset that we have to have and just truly make the most of every single day that we get.”
Clemson and the ACC also released its 11-game schedules on Thursday, which now has the Tigers kicking off the season at Sept. 12 at Wake Forest. Swinney said he is not worried about an 11-game season and how all of that is going to work. He is just focused on tomorrow and getting another day to spend with his players on the practice field.
Back in April, when he first addressed the COVID-19 pandemic with the media, Swinney was very optimistic there will be a college football season in 2020.
“I think I was just very optimistic, as I try to always be. I am always a [glass] half full guy,” he said. “Maybe that is my fault, but that is never going to change for me. I am thankful we had a great day today and just hopeful we get another day tomorrow.
“I am not worried about an 11-game season. I am worried about having a great day tomorrow. That is really the only thing I am focused on. I am very hopeful and optimistic that we are going to be able to find a way to play and most importantly do it in a safe way for everyone. Again, it is a best of one mentality. We are not guaranteed anything. We just have to find a way to win the day tomorrow.”
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