Swinney Knew Clemson Culture Would Keep Players Sharp For Opener

JP-Priester

After the up and down offseason across the college football world, it wasn't surprising to see some sloppiness when teams started taking the field to finally play live games. 

For Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, instead of some early sloppiness, he fully expected his team to come out sharp. The culture that has been created inside the program, along with the veteran leadership on the team, provided Swinney with plenty of reasons to be confident in how his team would perform in its season opening win over Wake Forest.

"I told our team early on in the very beginning of all this stuff," Swinney said on Tuesday. "'Hey listen, I think we already had a little bit of an edge and I think this is going to grow that gap, simply because I know who you are. I know the people that are part of this program, the people that are part of our team, and I know the commitment that they have to being their best, and their belief in what we do as a program."

"I expected us to play clean. We had three scrimmages. We practiced the way we normally do in camp. With the amount of veterans back, offensively I expected us to be clean and crisp, and we were."

When his team got back together in July, any doubts Swinney may have had about his team were put to rest. After that, it was all business as usual.

"That was pretty evident to me once we really got back in July," Swinney said. "Full speed ahead, mandatory training, and all that, you could see that. 98.5% of our team was in a really good spot, and that just is a reflection again of their personal commitment to be their best. Understanding what it takes to be their best."

Just getting to the season opener felt like an accomplishment in and of itself. However, once the ball was kicked off, it was just football. Fans or no fans, Swinney was just happy to see his team play and more than pleased with the result.

"It was awesome to see them go play, it was a lot of fun," Swinney said. "And there's nobody there, but I'm telling you once the ball was kicked off, there could have been 100,000 people in the stands. I mean it was just a group of people loving what they do, loving each other, great respect for each other. And just excited to go play, excited to go coach, and it was just a joyful moment, and we played really well."

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