Why Swinney has different level of respect for Clemson's latest opponent

Why Swinney has different level of respect for Clemson's latest opponent


Why Swinney has different level of respect for Clemson's latest opponent


It’s not uncommon for teams to talk about having respect for their opposition. But Louisiana Tech gave Dabo Swinney a heartwarming reason for Clemson’s head coach to take his praise of the Bulldogs’ program to another level.

Following the Tigers’ 48-20 win over Tech late Saturday night, Swinney carried a box into his postgame press conference. In it, Swinney revealed, were handwritten letters from Tech coach Sonny Cumbie and each of the Bulldogs’ players to Bryan Bresee and his family.

Clemson’s star defensive tackle didn’t play in Saturday’s game. He was back with his family in Maryland following the passing of his sister, Ella, who lost her fight with brain cancer earlier in the week.

“I want to just say how encouraged I was by just the class of Coach Cumbie and La Tech,” Swinney said. “You hear so much bad, and you don’t often times get to hear the good. There’s a lot of good, but unfortunately the bad usually gets the headlines. But I’m going to tell you, just as a human being, I was super encouraged tonight.”

The letters were the second surprise that Cumbie gave the Tigers’ program on the night. During pregame warmups, Cumbie donned the same “Ella Strong” T-shirt that Clemson’s coaches and players had worn before last week’s game against Furman. They wore them again before Saturday’s game, and Swinney wore his during the game.

Swinney said he had never met Cumbie before Saturday night, but his respect for Tech’s first-year coach went up a few notches with the compassion shown by Cumbie and his players.

“I’ll be a fan of his for the rest of his career,” Swinney said. “As I told him after the game, this right here is why he’s going to be successful. Because that really tells me how he’s wired and how he thinks. I’ll be pulling for him forever.

“I really, really appreciated their kindness, their thoughtfulness and just sharing in the pain with the Bresee family, somebody they don’t know. To me, that’s a beautiful thing in college athletics, and I just really want to thank Sonny and his team for that gesture and taking the time to do that. I know this will mean a lot to Bryan and his family.”



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