We are not generally overfond of spring football, which clocks in high on pageantry (and higher every year) and low on actual valuable information. But we are highly susceptible to the promise of tailgate meats, and were lured to Death Valley on Saturday to sample a 40-pound brisket* and take in the Orange and White game.
*May not be actual weight, but it was big. And delectable.
We are fond of saying that spring conditioning is for everyone. Players, coaches, writers and fans can all get slothful in an offseason that spans 2/3 of the calendar year. Across campus, Saturday chefs warmed up their smokers for preseason drills.
The spring game is the perfect venue in which to test next fall's gameday accessories. These shoes: Do.
This hair: Don't.
The backwards visor: Takes a high degree of difficulty to execute gracefully, so start educating your children in its uses as early in life as you feel comfortable.
Topping the attire leaderboard for returning Clemson stars were denim vests (Andre Branch) and binkies (Jacoby Ford).
Clemson faithful welcome the "teams" to Death Valley.
Moppets get in some box-surfing on hill real estate that will be mobbed with bodies come fall.
The Tigers' terrifying mascot selects his next meal from a group of proffered children.
Also, some football was played. Here we are, getting in some conditioning drills of our own, framing shots to make this look like a real gameday crowd. This is harder than it looks. We respect your hustle, TV people.
Here, Dabo Swinney attempts to turn his skin from orange to purple in a show of Clemson pride.
Here is Clemson's Noisy Cricket Victory Cannon (may not be its real name), which is fired in celebration after scores ...
... even when the score is a chip-shot field goal following an offensive stall at the two-yard line.
Actual football happenings from the afternoon, such as they were: Tajh Boyd threw two interceptions to follow up his 62-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Sammy Watkins had a leisurely afternoon, with six catches for 66 yards. De'Andre Hopkins outshone the field with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. And we even saw a little of the promised Pistol action. The game stretched into a sort of double overtime with an Orange-on-White field goal shootout. Video highlights are available on the team website.
Thanks for the hospitality, Death Valley. We'll see you this fall.