Christmas cookies, eating at grandma's house and bowl prep


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The Tigers work out in the indoor practice facility
The Tigers work out in the indoor practice facility

CLEMSON – Christmas cookies, junior varsity work and eating at your grandmother’s house are all factors in how Dabo Swinney schedules his bowl practices.

Clemson’s football team will hold three more practices before the Christmas break, practice one more time after the break and then head to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio St. next Monday. Swinney told the media Monday in the WestZone that the Tigers are taking full advantage of their bowl prep.

“Today is the kickoff to our final prep here at Clemson. We have three final days here at Clemson, and we have three days where we will shift emphasis to game prep and dotting the I's and crossing the T's and then feel good about buttoning up the plan and taking a break on the 21st,” Swinney said. “We will practice here and then everybody will have an opportunity to get home for a few days, and we will get back Christmas night. We will have a nice break, and then we will practice back here on the 26th. This is one of those kinds of weird years where we actually play on a Saturday. Usually, with these bowls, you play on a Tuesday, and you're always trying to say it's Thursday but a Monday practice. But we will actually have a normal game week when we do get back, so we will have our Monday practice here, and then we will load up and fly to Arizona.”

Swinney told the media that bowl practices – with no classes in session – are like fall camp.

“We get them for more time. We don't have the 20-hour rule,” Swinney said. “This is a season of its own. It's a whole new season, and we have a process that we believe in of how we prepare at this time, and we ask the guys to buy into it. I don't want it to be a grind where they dread coming over here. That's something that I am very sensitive to. I want them to have some fun as we go through the process. I want them to buy into what we need them to do to get ready. There are moments where we are going to really challenge them and stress them, and we are doing a lot of conditioning this time of year because they had time off and had a little down time.”

The extra downtime means Christmas cookies and eating the kinds of meals the team’s nutritionist probably wouldn’t approve of.

“I know they are out eating cookies and stuff like that and everybody wants to bake stuff, so we are doing a little extra conditioning,” Swinney said. “I also now they are going to take a little break and go see grandmamma. They have done a good job. We don't try to practice very long. And I think it's important to manage the staff as well during this time. We are up here til 10 p.m. most nights, but I also want them to get home and enjoy a little time with their families. We have a good format as far as how we manage their time and then we challenge them.

“We work hard on Clemson and get in plenty of game prep. We have our GA's meet with our redshirts. They don't need to study for Ohio St. but we need them so we can teach these guys and get them ready for spring. We coach them. We have a lot of JV practice and we film that so we get a chance to coach those guys off the tape. That is how you get better and that is how you build confidence in those young players. It's a good format for us.”


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