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Dabo's message "You've got to embrace the suck"

Clemson's Dabo Swinney talks about the challenges in kicking off a season amidst a pandemic. In the process, his "embrace the suck" has become another Dabo-ism.
Credit: ACC
Winston-Salem native K.J. Henry (5) leads the Clemson defense on to the field for pregame drills before the Tigers face Wake Forest in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Walt Unks/Winston-Salem Journal)

It was a normal road trip for Clemson on paper. The Tigers dominated Wake Forest in a 37-13 win Saturday in Winston-Salem. But everything leading up to the game was atypical in this coronavirus climate. But head coach Dabo Swinney used a Dabo-ism to tell his team it has to overcome challenges in life and this is one of those experiences that will define a player's will to succeed.

"We had to wear masks and shields on the bus and the plane. We had to double up on the bus and the plane, so that was a little bit of a challenge. But hey, as we say in the weight room all the time, you’ve got to embrace the suck, and that’s kind of where we are right now. Sometimes you’ve got to do things you don’t like to do, but that’s where we are and that’s what we had to do, and we got it done," Swinney said.

With the state of North Carolina having been hit hard by COVID-19, the hotel did not have an abundance of staff so the Clemson staff had to improvise.

“Going to the hotel in North Carolina, they’re in a different place right now, so very limited staff. In fact, I think this was like their first big event at the hotel since March,” Swinney said. 

“So, we pretty much had the whole hotel. We normally have multiple meeting rooms, but we could only have one meeting room, so we had to have one big space and then we would just put an air wall up when we needed to go separate offensively and defensively.

“So, it’s where we ate, where we met… We did a movie there and we had to break the room down, set it back up, clear it all out for the movie. Got them all these kind of little blow-up bean bag type things they could relax in and watch the movie. Had a great time with that, then had to reset it.”

Swinney and the Tigers will be in the Valley Saturday afternoon for a 4:00 p.m. game against The Citadel.