Dabo Swinney, world's highest-paid server? Big changes to Clemson's travel plans


by - Senior Writer -
Swinney talks to the media Wednesday.
Swinney talks to the media Wednesday.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney will be the world’s highest-paid server Friday night in Winston-Salem.

As college football comes to grips with how to play the game amid COVID-19, the Atlantic Coast Conference has set certain rules that are to be followed when a team takes to the road. Clemson plays Wake Forest Saturday night (kickoff 7:44 pm, ABC) at Truist Field, and the team will make the short plane flight to Winston-Salem Friday afternoon.

There will be big changes.

“We are trying to keep things as normal as possible, but there are some major changes,” Swinney said Wednesday night. “Our Friday routine as far as our game prep and how we do our meetings and stuff, that part of it will be the same. We will go to the stadium and do what we do there. But all of the other stuff is very different. Very, very different.”

It starts with getting tested before leaving the Reeves Complex, and there will be more buses than normal.

“First of all, we have to come and get tested so that kind of changes your routine on that day. Way more buses,” Swinney said. “I think it is nine or maybe 10 because we can only have a max of 17 or 18 per bus. We have to spend a lot of time in how we seat people on the bus. There is a lot of detail that goes into that because we have to mitigate the close contact with the shields and masks and all of that for the buses and the planes. You can't eat on the plane.”

Once the team arrives at the hotel, Swinney and the rest of the coaches will serve the players their food.

“There are a lot of changes, even in how we do things at the hotel,” Swinney said. “For example, all of us coaches and staff, we have to serve our players because we can't have the hotel staff do that right now up there. We will serve our players all of their food and snacks and those types of things. Just do what we have to do. We won't go to the movie theatre up there, we will create our own movie theatre and make our own popcorn. There are some different logistics and a little bit more of work on everybody's part in how we do certain things, but hey, we are happy to do it. This is what it takes to be able to play.”

Other notes

*The team can travel with 80 players instead of the usual 72.

*Clemson will release player availability Saturday morning and will swap a COVID personnel numbers list with Wake Forest.

*On being able to finally play a game, Swinney said it will be special.

“Just a special moment. It's been an unbelievable journey to get here,” he said. “Just the fact we're getting to play is a win. For both teams and both staffs. Obviously we all want to win, but man I'm going to tell you what, the journey to get to this point has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, and these young people have certainly never experienced anything like this. To get to this point, it's going to be a very special moment when we kick it off."

*Sounds like RB Chez Mellusi (clavicle) won’t be available for the game.

*He said freshman running back Demarkcus Bowman still has a lot to learn.

*Backup punter Aidan Swanson is battling Jonathan Weitz for the backup kicker job as well.

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