"Swag Surfin':" Clemson defense gets its swagger back with dance party


by - Senior Writer -
Christian Wilkins surfs during the third quarter of Clemson's 24-10 win.
Christian Wilkins surfs during the third quarter of Clemson's 24-10 win.

CLEMSON – The music played over the loudspeaker in Clemson Memorial Stadium Saturday, and all of Clemson’s defensive linemen began to dance in unison to the beat. The dance moves elicited a cheer from the crowd, and the players used the moment to reassure themselves they had their swag back.

The impromptu dance party started during the third quarter of Clemson’s 24-10 victory over Georgia Tech. Clemson’s defense, bruised and battered two weeks ago in a loss to Syracuse, wanted to get its swagger back against the option offense of Tech.

For most of the game, Tech’s offense was mired in neutral, and during one third quarter drive, “Swag Surfin” by Fast Life Younstaz began to play.

Man I got that swag

My hat matches my bag

You know I'm popping tags

'Cause man I got that swag

The linemen began to dance, and they knew that all was right with the world.

“It came at the right time for us,” defensive end Austin Bryant said of the song. “It started playing, and we all know each other so well we just started dancing. It was perfect. We wanted to come out here tonight and prove that we have our swagger back, and I think we did that.”

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins said Saturday reminded him of his youth.

“That was a lot of fun. You can see that we've got that swag. It was a lot of fun just enjoying the game tonight. Just having fun with my teammates because that's what we always do,” Wilkins said. “We were getting back our swag after a tough two weeks and a tough loss two weeks ago. I enjoyed every part of tonight. It really just felt like backyard football tonight - in the mud, I enjoyed tackling, sliding the extra five yards after making the play. I definitely feel like tonight was a fun night, not only because we won but because we played with enthusiasm. We were up on the sideline. We were up while we were on the field and that's what we can do when we play at that type of level.”

He then said that the dance moves weren’t rehearsed.

“Everybody knows Swag Surf, but now maybe you guys will, too, Wilkins said. “It's not like we practice that in the mirror when the song comes on. It was spur of the moment. We just enjoyed it and had fun. We knew we needed to have a tough stand on defense right there. Some of the fans left so we needed that little bit of energy and that little boost. It was cool.”

Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel said head coach Dabo Swinney spent the week imploring his unit to get back to its roots.

“I definitely think we got our groove back. Coach Swinney told us to get our swagger back this week - just our confidence and having fun with the game - and I think we did that,” O’Daniel said. “Everyone out there was having fun from offense, defense and special teams.

“It was so much fun. Before the game, when we came out and it was pouring rain, you can't really dodge the rain because you're getting soaked regardless. Me and a couple of other guys were saying that if you have to have a pump up talk or you have to be forced to have fun in this kind of environment and this kind of weather, you don't need to be out here and we don't want you out here. Everyone felt the same way and that chemistry and energy just carried through the whole game.”

O’Daniel took the moves a step further – following one third down tackle he mimicked a swimming motion.

“It was wet and I was already on the ground,” O’Daniel said. “I didn't want to get up and do something too crazy to get a flag so I figured I'd just swim. I was going to hop up and act like I was surfing, but the ref started calling me out for swimming so I just hopped up and went to the sideline.”

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