Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney plans to change things up a little bit when he runs down the hill on Saturday prior to the top-ranked Tigers’ game against Virginia.
Typically, Swinney races down the hill and, in a normal year, runs through the Tiger marching band on the field to the 50-yard line, where he awaits his players and gives them high-fives as they make their way toward the sideline.
That is customary for Swinney, what he is used to doing, and what he did before Clemson’s game against The Citadel on Sept. 19. But with no band to run through this season because of COVID-19, which has made the Tigers’ longtime pregame tradition look a little different, Swinney will take a different route to the sideline after he runs down the hill this Saturday.
“That’s called being a creature of habit. I’m going to have to coach myself up,” Swinney said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “I just came down the hill (before The Citadel game) and kind of like I normally do, you run through the band, you go down there and you take a left. Typically, I turn around and high-five the guys as they’re running through the band. So, I get down there and then all of a sudden I turn around and I’m like by myself – there’s nobody there, and the team, like most normal people, they just go right on over to the shortest path to the sideline.
“So, yeah, I’ll get down the hill, but I’ll probably go a little bit more toward the sideline because it really doesn’t make sense to go all the way to the 50 and then go left. At least our guys, they don’t think that makes sense with nothing to run through. So, that’s what we’ll do, and it’ll be fun.”
Swinney looks forward to getting back in Death Valley in front of a limited capacity crowd for the 8 p.m. contest against Virginia that will be televised on the ACC Network.
“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “Sounds like we’re going to probably have a few of those night games along the way. But I’m just excited to have any game, regardless of what (time). They can tell us we play at 10 o’clock in the morning and I’d be just as excited. But it’ll be cool. It’ll be nice. It’ll be a great atmosphere, primetime, all those type of things. Whatever juice our fans can bring, I know it will be in the stands, that’s for sure, and a lot of excitement.
“So, it will be fun, will be fun to look forward to it. We’ve had one night game already up at Wake, but there wasn’t anybody there. So, this will be a little different atmosphere for us, and in this climate and in this world that we’re operating in, it will probably be as good as you can expect. So, that will be fun for our guys.”
— Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference
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