Dabo Swinney says his players "came out and fought for our season"

by - Senior Writer -
Clemson's defense was impressive against Wake Saturday night.
Clemson's defense was impressive against Wake Saturday night.

Dabo Swinney gave his players an important life lesson in mid-August when uncertainty swirled around whether there would be a college football season – you have to fight for the things you love.

Swinney said all along that he hoped and thought there would be a 2020 college football season, a narrative that didn’t sit well with many in the national media who publicly lobbied for the season to be canceled.

However, Swinney still felt good about the chances for a season when fall camp started in early August and felt good about the processes in place to ensure that the season would happen, and happen safely. Then word came down that the Big Ten was thinking about canceling its season – and the Pac-12 would follow – and Swinney began to feel the first pangs of doubt.

“That was the only time, to me, that our players … that Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, that kind of a few days there, where I felt like nobody really knew,” Swinney told the media Tuesday during his weekly press conference.

He then told the players that if they wanted to play, they needed to make sure that their voices were heard, loud and clear.

“I said, ‘If you guys want to play, you are going to have to change the narrative from a players’ perspective,” Swinney said. “Because the narrative is, we are making everybody play and that is just not reality. Everybody here is a volunteer. Nobody has to be here. No coach, no player. Our players came out and fought for our season.”

Senior tight end JC Chalk – who caught his first career touchdown pass in the win over Wake Forest Saturday – said the players all wanted to play.

“Everyone just wanted to play. I think that's one thing you can say about all of the guys here is we love the game of football,” Chalk said. “We had been working so hard to get back to the point where we could have a season and it started to get close to that time of the NCAA and ACC making a decision about the season, and we said, 'You know what, let's push and do everything we can to make sure we have a season.' Thankfully, we were able to have enough say in it and have been able to save our season so far. Hopefully, it stays like that. All of us guys are willing to do anything we can to have a season.”

Swinney is making sure his players enjoy each and every moment they spend together, on and off the field.

“I said, ‘Here is what we got. We got today. And we are on the field and we got today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never come. Today is the gift. That’s why they call it the present. So, let's win today, it is the best of one. Let’s just get the best of today.’

“That’s been the mentality that our guys have embraced,” Swinney said. “They may call us tomorrow and tell us we can’t play anymore, but man we get to play today. So, lets enjoy it. So, that has really been our mindset the whole time. Once we got past that point and the ACC, SEC and Big 12 said, ‘Hey, we are playing.’ I think we all fully expected to play.”

Clemson gets another chance to play this Saturday, hosting The Citadel at 4 pm.

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