Dabo Swinney says indoor facility a game-changing 'blessing' for his Tigers

'You can go inside somewhere and walk through, but you don't get better at this game walking through'

Clemson's Dabo Swinney during practice at the Clemson Football Indoor Practice Facility.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney during practice at the Clemson Football Indoor Practice Facility.

At least two weeks.

That's what Dabo Swinney figures Clemson has gained in uninterrupted on-field practice time since the Tigers' new indoor practice facility became available last December.

It's been a difference-maker for the Tigers - chiefly in dodging bad weather, but in other areas, as well.

"It's paid for itself three times over," Swinney said on Wednesday during the ACC coaches' teleconference. "You talk about picking a year, a perfect year, to build an indoor facility, we picked it.

"I think we were averaging 14 days a year we were missing training or whatever. We don't worry about that anymore. We don't worry about any of that. We have great flexibility."

The benefits began with Clemson's practice for its Chick-fil-A Bowl game against LSU.

"We were able to practice in it about five times before our bowl game last year, which was huge for us, because the weather was terrible," Swinney said. " To be able to continue to practice full speed, especially when you're trying to prepare for a physical team like LSU was, it was huge."

The advantages continued to accumulate during what has been the wettest spring and summer in recent memory.

"We've had a world record of rain around here, and we've never missed a day," Swinney said. "We don't even have to think about it. Prior to having the indoor facility, we didn't have anywhere to go where we could practice full speed.

"You can go inside somewhere and walk through, but you don't get better at this game walking through, you got to practice full speed to really improve in the game of football."

During the summer, the facility allowed players to work 'skills and drills' around their schedules.

"What people don't realize, it's not like you can say, 'OK, let's come back in three hours,'" Swinney said. "These guys' schedules are so structured, there's very little flexibility, so you have a window of time when you can practice or they can do their skills and drills in the summer. Then all of a sudden you have lightning or whatever, you can miss it."

Swinney said another advantage comes during game preparation when "we take them out of the heat."

"Sometimes on Thursdays, you're trying to bring their legs back," he said. "So we're able able to take them out of that direct sun, to help them with that recovery process to get them ready for that game."

The facility has also saved wear and tear on the Tigers' grass practice field.

"We do our walk throughs and our flex every single day," Swinney said. "To take that off of our grass fields helps us maintain those surfaces. Towards the end of the season, we've got great practice surfaces still.

"So it's just been a great, great blessing for us. I don't have any doubt it's impacted our program."

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Comments » 3

rsb8931#286014 writes:

Has the thing got air condition?

BrandonRink writes:

in response to rsb8931#286014:

Has the thing got air condition?

Yep, full scoreboard, big HD screen, nice sound system, the works.

KIMOSAMI writes:

The Old Ball Sack was deriding Dabo a few months back for discussing the new facility.

But, then again, what's new? The Old Ball Sack has chronic diahrea of the mouth.

Thankfully, Mark Lett measures up to AC/DC's anthem about having big balls. He got Ron Morris reinstated to full status yesterday despite the bullying of the Old Ball Sack.

(Shame on nearly ALL of the S.C. journalists for not boycotting Carolina athletics during Spurrier's bullying of Morris).

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