Swinney: 'Character Is What You're Doing When No One Is Looking'


While the college football world has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coaches are scrambling for ways to keep their players in shape despite them being scattered across the country.

At Clemson, head coach Dabo Swinney says for the players who don't have access to weights, the strength coaches have had to come up with ways to keep them in shape.

"Most of our guys have access to weights, 80-something guys," Swinney said. "They get sent a daily plan. Those who do not have access to weights, our strength coaches have done a great job of sending them creative workouts so that can accomplish the same thing. Our strength staff is probably pretty sore right now from doing so much demonstrating."

In these unusual times, coaches are being allowed more time with players than they would normally get. In years past, once the spring game was over, coaches weren't allowed to meet with players. Now, they are, and Swinney says they are taking full advantage of that.

"The ACC and NCAA allow us to meet with players four hours a week," Swinney said. "To be honest with you, we’re going to get a lot done. Right now we need to be over-communicating with our players, not under-communicating. Ordinarily, after the spring game, we wouldn’t be allowed to meet with them. Doing these four hours within our practice block so it doesn’t interfere with classes or workout time. I love the mindset that we have."

One of the trademarks of the Clemson program over the years has been accountability. It is something Swinney constantly preaches to his team about.

The Tigers head coach says that accountability is one of the key ingredients to what has made the program successful. It is something that is instilled in each and every player, and one reason why his team will be better once this pandemic ends.

"The reason we’ve been a great program," Swinney said, "is leadership, accountability, responsibility and discipline. Those are the things that are important right now. I always say character is what you’re doing when nobody’s looking. Championships are won when nobody’s in the stadium. Don’t just come back ready. Come back better."

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J Clarke
J Clarke

From what I recall, that attitude of excelling in preparation started with Tajh Boyd, and it is one of the reasons why Clemson has done so well. I remember when FSU was trying to get their players motivated to do well, and it was such a contrast with Clemson. It is one of the reasons we caught and passed them.