Clemson Coaching Staff Still Working Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

JP-Priester

With the Clemson campus closed for the rest of the spring semester, the members of the football program are now spread out across the country. From the coaches to the players, all the way to the support staff.

While these unusual circumstances create some obvious complications, head coach Dabo Swinney says he and his assistants are just trying to make the most of the difficult situation. He says it has given them an opportunity to work on their communication skills, and improve upon their technological abilities. 

"Every day," Swinney said, "every (assistant) coach has been communicating with their segment group, just like they would be here. And I tell you, one of the positives that has come from it, we've all gotten a little more technologically savvy. For our staff, we've had to use Microsoft teams and Zoom, two things I've never used, and it's been great."

Being so spread out isn't the easiest thing to deal with, but Swinney is thankful of the technological advances that have allowed he and his coaching staff to keep things as normal as possible. 

"It's not the same as being in a room together," Swinney said. "But we are able to have our meetings, communicate, and stay engaged. I think that's very important that we stay engaged daily as if we were back in Clemson. Our coaches are doing a great job with that."

Those technological advances allow the coaches to get daily reports on each player. It also allows them to keep things as close to normal as they possibly can, something Swinney is thankful for. 

"We just got a daily report on every single player on the roster this morning," Swinney said. "And the players I think have enjoyed it as well. We are going to have a full team meeting next week as well. Kind of business as usual for us. Trying to create as much normalcy as we can as if we were back on campus together."

Swinney also says they are able to have some fun that they otherwise might not be able to have if the meetings were happening in person. He says offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell, in particular has had some fun with the online meetings. 

"Been kind of fun to have the staff meetings on Microsoft teams," Swinney said. "I'm always kind of on the screen talking and then when somebody else speaks, their face pops up. Robbie Caldwell had us all dying laughing this morning because he said the only reason his face wasn't popping up was because he said he was "nekked." He said he always wanted to come to a staff meeting "nekked" so we all got a big kick out of that."

Swinney points out that as far as the coaches go, they are still able to do some of the things they need to do despite not being together on campus. He says outside of not getting the final two weeks of practices in, they are going about business as usual.

"Obviously the biggest thing we can't do right now is practice," Swinney said. "We don't have practice to grade or prepare for and we are not hosting recruits on campus, so that's a change. But we are still carrying on what we got done in spring ball with evaluations. We are going to start our exit meetings after next week. For me, that's something that usually takes three weeks to get done, with so many players." 

Those exit meetings might have a little different feel this spring. Instead of being done in Swinney's office, they'll have to be done online. However, he's grateful for the ability to communicate with his players daily, and Swinney says that is the number one priority.

"This year, I'll do every one of them (exit meetings) on FaceTime," Swinney said. "We are putting all the player evaluations and summer planning and summer projects together. The number one thing right now is having those daily meetings with your players."

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