No First Friday Parade, no Tiger Walk: Tigers still excited to be back home

No First Friday Parade, no Tiger Walk: Tigers still excited to be back home

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No First Friday Parade, no Tiger Walk: Tigers still excited to be back home

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Usually, the first home game at Clemson comes with a lot of fan fair.

There is the First Friday Parade, a tradition at Clemson where the cheerleaders, Rally Cats, Tiger Band, along with parade floats, parade from the front of the President’s House at the intersection of Cherry Road and Hwy. 93 and proceed up 93 towards downtown. The parade ends in front of Historic Riggs Field for a big pep rally.

On game day, of course, there is tailgating which normally begins hours and hours before the Clemson Football team makes its way to the stadium for Tiger Walk, a tradition started when Dabo Swinney took over as head coach in 2008.

Later, the Tigers run down the hill and through a tunnel formed by Tiger Band after touching Howard’s Rock, while more than 81,000 fans scream at the top of their lungs.

However, things will be a little different this year. The Clemson Game Day Experience will much different, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be no First Friday Parade. There will be no pep rally. There will be no tailgating and there will be no Tiger Walk.

But the Tigers will run down the hill, it will be just a little different. Tiger Band will be on the hill instead of on the field.

“We are super excited about being home,” Swinney said. “It’s always special. We only get six home games this year because of the change of the schedule, but we are just happy to have the opportunity to be at home. We want to enjoy every single opportunity that we get, and I know we will have a great appreciation for all that has gone into making it happen here.”

To make it happen, the Clemson Athletic Department spent more than 1,000 hours since March of planning and working to figure out a way to get 19,000 fans into Memorial Stadium.

“It looks great. They did a fantastic job of social distancing the stadium, if you will, and spreading out the fans to where it is going to feel great,” Swinney said. “We have not had anybody. We have not seen a soul at practice or nothing, so it will be really cool to just be able to see some fans in the stands.”

Last week, No. 1 Clemson opened the season in front of no fans at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C., as the Tigers knocked off Wake Forest in easy fashion.

“I know it is going to be a great experience for a lot of people to get the chance to see the Tigers in person. But it is all spread out,” Swinney said. “Students are in the south upper deck and there is only one way in and out for them.

“They took the chairback seats and you can get a feel for where the fans are going to be. I think it is going to be great. It is what it is. We are going to make the best of it and try to play our best and put on a great performance.”

The Tigers host The Citadel at 4 p.m., this Saturday at Death Valley.

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