Dabo Swinney: Players safer at Clemson, virus won't go away if football canceled
|Monday, August 10, 2020, 8:01 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney says that if we were guaranteed the virus would go away if football wasn’t played, he would be the first to sign up. However, that isn’t happening, and he thinks the safest place for his players is on campus, playing the game they love.
Swinney met with the media for just a few minutes following Monday’s practice, and he was asked about the rumors that have swirled all weekend about the Big 10 and other conferences postponing a fall football season.
“We have incredible leadership on the team. Super proud how they have set the tone, taken charge on trying to have a season,” Swinney said. "This game is important to so many people. What we have going on right here, right now is special. This is the safest environment we could have for these guys, without a doubt. They don’t have the sanitized environment we have here. We have had one guy test positive since early July. That doesn’t mean someone can’t get the virus. I just wanted to make sure everyone understands we know there is risk.
“But if we cancel football, the virus doesn’t go away. No one has to be here. I have two sons here. If you told me that canceling vision would get rid of football, I’d sign up right away. But that’s not the case. Some people will say you’re just doing this for financial reason. Our staff is going to get paid no matter what we do. Our players will be on scholarship no matter what we do. This is what we love to do."
Swinney then said that the players are safer on campus than they are back home.
"Everything here is mitigated. Yes, guys could still get it and I could still get it,” Swinney said. “But we all have to make our risk assessments in life. it’s always been that way. It’s not going to be any different in the spring. So at some point, we have to find a way. I’ve made my decision, our football team has made its decision. Hopefully people will respect our decision and allow us to play."
He was then asked if he would be in favor of changing conferences for a season if that meant the chance to play football.
"You’d have to ask Dan Radakovich that,” Swinney said. “I’ll just tell you we’ll play whoever, whenever, wherever. We’re just going to keep rolling and get ourselves ready. Football is a developmental game. They are student-ahtletes, not just students. That’s part of why they came. We’ve always been on campus before the student body. This week it’s just a few weeks longer. Yes, it’s a unique year. But we can all still have students online. But you can’t be an athlete online. This is part of what we’re here to do."
Swinney said he has enjoyed coaching this team through the first three practices.
"We are coming off a really good practice. Today we got into some situational stuff and field position work. Just great energy, man,” he said. “As weird as it is, I’ve never had as much fun at a camp as this one. I think that’s just a deeper appreciation for what we have and do what we do. We have incredible leadership on this team. I am super-proud of these guys and kind of taken charge in having a season and articulating their thoughts and beliefs. I couldn’t be more proud to stand alongside and support them.”