Clemson fans have opportunity to love, care their ‘wounded dog’ back into shape

Clemson fans have opportunity to love, care their ‘wounded dog’ back into shape


Clemson fans have opportunity to love, care their ‘wounded dog’ back into shape


Wednesday's Thoughts

As a person who owns five rescue dogs, I get Dabo Swinney’s analogy, when he said his Clemson Football team is a “wounded dog on the side of the road.”

They may be hurt. They may be down. But they are hungry and more importantly they are still alive.

A wounded dog is a fighter. Its determination and will to survive is like no other. I own two dogs that I literally picked up on the side of the road. Well, I should say my ex-girlfriend did. I own another my friend found and one I found wounded and in dire need.

They all had one thing in common when we founded them. They all had that will to live. They all had that will to fight and continue even when all seemed lost.

With the number of injuries, the Tigers have suffered this season, quitting would have been easy. And to be honest, you really could not blame them.

Clemson has had more than 30 players on the injury list this year that have missed at least one game or significant time in a game due to injury. With the news of wide receiver Justyn Ross possibly being lost for the remainder of the season, it would mean 15 of those players have suffered some sort of season-ending injury.

Yet, despite all the injuries. Despite the tough losses to Georgia, NC State and Pittsburgh. Despite all the negative talk on the television, radio, Twitter, and message boards, here they are. It is Week 12 of the college football season, and the Tigers are still alive in the ACC Championship race.

“We are limping along, and we keep finding a way,” linebacker James Skalski said. “I think we are a wounded dog a little bit. I think this is the most injuries I have seen since I have been here. It is definitely the most adversity we have seen. But we are still alive. We are still limping. We are still moving.”

Granted, a lot has to happen for the six-time ACC Champion to make it back to the championship game, but they are still a live and they appear to still have some fight left in them.

“We got to win, but like I said, we are a wounded dog on the side of the road. We need some help man,” Swinney said.

What help is Swinney talking about. Like he said, they first have to win on Saturday against No.10 Wake Forest (9-1, 6-0 ACC). The Demon Deacons are undefeated in conference play and are coming off a huge win over NC State that has them in control of the ACC’s Atlantic Division race.

A win over Wake Forest will keep the Tigers (7-3, 5-2 ACC) alive, but then they will need some help to make it back to Charlotte. Clemson will need NC State (7-3, 4-2 ACC) to lose one of its remaining two games against Syracuse and North Carolina, plus Boston College will need to beat the Demon Deacons in the final week of the regular season.

But the first step in helping a wounded dog is you have to have mercy for it. You have to pick it up and bring it home and show it some love. That is where Clemson fans come in this week.

If the fans want to keep their Tigers’ title hopes alive, they need to show them how much they care. Death Valley needs to be packed on Saturday against Wake Forest. I know it is a Noon kick and I know how difficult it is to get to Clemson that early in the day. But the best way for Clemson fans to show they love their wounded team is to get to the stadium and give the Tigers a home field advantage the Demon Deacons have never seen before.

That kind of love and support can go a long way.

“We need someone to pick us. Bandage us up and give us some new life,” Swinney said. “We are still alive. We are still alive. But if we don’t win this game we are not.”

And trust me, once you pick up a wounded dog and you love and care them back to full strength, there is no friend or companion more loyal and dedicated to you.

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