Dabo fires up the Roy Bus and drives it into a hotel ballroom
|Saturday, January 11, 2020, 5:27 PM- -|
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney fired up the ROY (Rest of Y'all) Bus Saturday afternoon and drove it into the middle of a hotel ballroom.
No. 3 Clemson held its final practice Saturday ahead of Monday’s National Championship against No. 1 LSU, and with inclement weather in the area the Tigers’ practice was moved indoors. LSU was given the New Orleans Saints indoor practice facility, while Clemson was scheduled for Tulane’s Yulman Stadium, an outdoor venue.
With heavy rains pelting the area, the Tigers found an alternate plan – a 70-yard long ballroom in the team hotel. Equipment staff taped off the sidelines and other than the crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling it had the look of a regular practice.
A few quick observations:
*Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney was in a boot following the win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, and he wasn’t dressed out and didn’t practice Saturday. Pinckney was doing his part, however, acting as a coach for the younger defensive tackles.
*We were allowed to attend the last practice in Tampa in 2016 – the practice where Swinney told his team they would beat Alabama because they love each other – and the first song on the playlist that afternoon was Eminem’s Lose Yourself.
The first song on the play list Saturday? Yep, the very same song. As the first verse echoed off the chandeliers, left tackle Jackson Carman and several of the players broke out their best moves.
If you had
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?
The song after Lose Yourself was Travis Tritt's Great Day to be Alive. Led by Swinney, the entire team joined along in the singing of the chorus.
And it's a great day to be alive
I know the sun's still shining
When I close my eyes
There's some hard times in the neighborhood
But why can't every day be just this good
It was a very spirited practice. The players were as vocal and as excited as I’ve ever seen them, and one observer reminded me of an old video baseball game where you could play home run derby in various locations (such as the living room in a house). You could homer off of the clock or the television, etc., and Saturday’s practice had that same kind of feel.
For the record, the chandeliers were intact when I left.
*Swinney made mention earlier Saturday that he is staying in the same hotel the Alabama team stayed in back in 1993 when the Crimson Tide played in the Sugar Bowl against Miami. Swinney, Mickey Conn, Lemanski Hall, and Thad Turnipseed were players on that team while Danny Pearman and Woody McCorvey were coaches.
The Hurricanes were the prohibitive favorites with Heisman-winning quarterback Gino Torretta, and the Hurricane receivers did a lot of talking before that game. After practice, I spoke with somebody who was around the Alabama program back in those days and they said this time around has had the same kind of feel.
The final score in that one: Torretta was confused all day – including one play where Alabama lined up with 11 players on the line of scrimmage – and Alabama walked away with a 34-13 win. Current LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was a defensive line coach on that Miami team.
*An older couple parked their car in a valet spot and walked through the doors of the hotel only to walk face-first into a group of Clemson players who were in a hurry. The shocked looks on their faces only intensified when they heard loud whistles and screaming coming from a ballroom.