Dabo gets inside his team’s helmets in short practice

After two grueling weeks of preseason practices, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney decided to give his team some much-needed rest and mental preparation day on Thursday.

Swinney’s Tigers went through their normal pre-practice walk-through in the indoor football facility, then calisthenics, then did some special teams work on field goal kicking in preparation for the Aug. 31 season opener against Georgia.

Swinney then spotted the ball at the 2-yard-line and gave an inspirational talk to the entire team, telling them that it didn’t matter if Georgia had the ball on the 2-yard-line going in, or if the Clemson offense had the ball on its own 2 going out; the Tigers will be ready to play.

He then sent the No. 1 offense out to run a play against the No. 1 defense from the spot. Just before the snap of the ball he blew the whistle and surprisingly ended practice, much to the delight of the 100 Clemson players on hand.

“We have worked the equivalent of a spring practice and met for the equivalent of two spring practices, ” said Swinney. “We were ready for a mental day. So I told the team to go home and rest. Don’t go to a movie, but get some rest. I told them to look at some practice video on their new iPads and come back refreshed and ready to go for a long physical practice Friday morning.”

Swinney did not even tell the other coaches and staff he was going to do this. But he felt the timing was right after the Tigers had five practices the last three days. Clemson will practice for two-and-a-half hours on Friday morning, then have a scrimmage in Memorial Stadium on Saturday morning.

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