Clemson coach's previous comments reflect his team's attitude about playing in 2020
On Saturday night, Clemson players came out on Twitter and spoke their mind about playing this coming season. Led by quarterback Trevor Lawrence, they sent a message to the powers that be in the ACC, and the other four Power 5 Conferences, that there is a larger contingent of college football players who want to play in 2020 than not.
Other players from Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama and schools all across the country joined the Tigers in their fight to save the season.
Their responses came following the Mid-American Conference’s announcement it was canceling football in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MAC’s news led to a series of reports that some Power 5 athletic directors said canceling the season was inevitable.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was likely not surprised by his players’ response Saturday night to the news. He said after the first day of fall camp this past Thursday he was blown away by how in shape his team was from a physical and mental conditioning standpoint.
He could see the desire they have to play football this season.
“One of the reasons we have been so successful, we have a lot of guys, and in the culture of our program, it is all about commitment. These guys are driven. They are motivated. They are self-motivating,” Swinney said. “So, I was blown away. Our guys have come back in really good shape. We have a bunch of guys who set personal records. We have had a lot of PR set in the weight room. Seeing them run. I have been very impressed.”
Swinney mentioned left tackle Jackson Carman as a great example of how his team has been driven to play, though the pandemic forced them to spend more than two months away from the training facilities at the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson.
Carman reported to camp at 333 pounds, 12 pounds below his weight from the spring.
“Jackson Carman, I mean here is a big guy that had a lot of quarantine and he looks better than he has ever looked,” Swinney said. “I am so proud of a guy like that, and again it goes back to the culture of this place to just buy in that we have from strength and conditioning to nutrition to eating the right things. Just fueling your body properly and getting the right sleep.”
Swinney loves to tell his teams that championships are won when no one else is watching. It is the little things they do, when there are no television cameras or 80,000 fans in the stadium, that matter the most.
“Our guys, as I say all the time, ‘What you do in the dark comes to light.’ We got back out here today, in the light, and this was an impressive looking team,” he said. “I am really, really proud of them. We had a normal practice as far as we went twenty periods, it was hot, high tempo. These guys did a great job.”
–photo courtesy Clemson Athletic Communications
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