Clemson’s toughest opponent this year is COVID-19

Clemson’s toughest opponent this year is COVID-19

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Clemson’s toughest opponent this year is COVID-19

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Dabo Swinney says he has no reason to be concerned as his players get set to take Friday and Saturday off as part of their bye week.

The Clemson coach has liked the way the top-ranked Tigers have handled themselves so far in this COVID-19 world everyone is living in. Clemson, to this point, has had very little interruption from the coronavirus or contact tracing since the early part of the summer.

Since July, Clemson’s football program has had just a handful of positive cases, which has allowed the Tigers to push forward with first its preparation and now the first two games of the season. Swinney reported on Monday, they have played two games with zero positives from a football player standpoint.

Clemson students have been back in Clemson since mid-August. And those students who live on campus returned on Sept. 15 and in-person classes began this past Monday.

Clemson President Jim Clements said last week in his weekly column to the students, professors, employees and administrators, he expects there to be an uptick in the number of positive cases in the weeks to come at Clemson. He is encouraging students to be safe, wear a mask and to practice social distancing the best they can.

With in-person classes back at Clemson for the first time since March, there is growing concern what has led to the postponements and cancellations of games across the country will start to affect Clemson, too. On Tuesday, the ACC announced the Notre Dame at Wake Forest game was postponed after 13 Notre Dame players either tested positive or were quarantine due to contact tracing.

Last week, Charlotte cancelled its game at North Carolina after contract tracing affected their entire offensive line. Saturday’s NC State at Virginia Tech game was originally scheduled for Sept. 12 before it had to moved after the Wolfpack had players in quarantine at the start of the season.

Virginia Tech also had to move its game with Virginia to Dec. 12, the same day Notre Dame and Wake Forest have rescheduled their game for.

As for Clemson, so far so good. The Tigers have played their first two games and now they are in what was a scheduled off week.

“Again, students have been back for a while now on campus, around campus, and the leadership has been really good,” Swinney said. “Guys have done what they have need to do.”

This week has been a normal week for the Tigers to this point. They tested Sunday after the game, practiced on Monday and Wednesday, which also included more testing. The biggest changes this week will be having Friday and Saturday off.

It will also be a big challenge to make sure everyone returns healthy on Monday.

“I trust them,” Swinney said. “It is not like we get them all the time every day. We get them for about four hours max [per day], so the other 20 hours comes down to trust, discipline and sacrifice. As long as they continue to do the right things, hopefully, we will be able to mitigate it and minimize the impact.”

And the Tigers will be able to keep the season going.

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