Dabo says new indoor facility has a certain "Wow" factor

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson University unveiled the football program’s new indoor practice facility to the public Friday afternoon, a facility that head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
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said has already paid dividends in helping Clemson defeat LSU in the bowl game, but has also been making a difference in recruiting.

Hundreds of Clemson fans and boosters braved icy roads and slick conditions in order to get a first-hand look at the new facility, and many stood in line in the elements waiting for the doors to open.

Once the doors opened, the typical reaction was the same one that Swinney said he has every time he walks in the facility’s doors – Wow.

“When you walk into this facility, you go ‘Wow!’” Swinney said. “It’s like when you go buy a car. You can jump in and some of them you can say, ‘This is going to work and this is going to get me where I need to go and that’s fine.’ Some of them you get in and you go, ‘Wow!’

“That’s what this is. This has a ‘wow’ factor to it and when recruits come on your campus you have that factor. But, it further demonstrates this university’s commitment to competing to be the best. If our competition is providing these resources and we are not, well, you are not on a level playing field. We are still not quite there, but we are closing the gap and this facility is a big step in the right direction.”

Swinney said the Tigers were able to hold four practices in the new facility as they prepared to take on LSU in last month’s Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

“It was huge. This surface is exactly what we played on,” Swinney said. “So to be able to run around on this surface and be able to play inside. Lighting – that’s not something that you’re used to, and with the roof over the top. Not that it won the game for us, but it helped level the playing field and brought a lot of focus to our practices. We had a lot of nasty weather in preparing for the bowl. To be able to do full-speed work on this surface was huge.”

He also said the building will be more than just a practice site.

“It’s a training facility, strength and conditioning facility and is a huge part of recruiting,” he said. “There are a lot of things this facility will represent. It is limitless, and we will never miss a day. We were missing 14 days a year on average, days where there was just nothing we could do. We can go full speed in here every single day.”

Swinney said the feedback from recruits has been positive.

“Young people – and I have three of them in my house – it’s all about what they see, what they smell, what they hear,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of graphics in here, and that wow factor is part of it.”

Both end zones have “Clemson” painted in them, and there is Tiger paw logo at midfield. There is a scoreboard (which had a 63-17 score posted on it today) on one wall with a 30-foot video board at the other end.

Swinney also said the doors can open, and kickers can stand under a roof and actually kick footballs from indoors to the outside.

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