Clemson enjoyed the holiday with a day mixed with Christmas cheer and spirited work on the practice field as the Tigers went through a second full day of preparation for the 83rd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
The day began with a festive brunch at the team’s headquarters hotel complete with an appearance by Santa Claus, performances by the coaches and their families and the musical stylings of several student-athletes capped off by head coach Dabo Swinney singing a rousing rendition of Silent Night.
“For the great majority of the team, this is the first time they’ve ever been away from home for Christmas,” said Swinney. “It’s a different experience so we just tried to embrace it and enjoy this family, the Clemson family. It was a lot of fun. All the guys got into it.”
The Tigers (13-0, 8-0 ACC) kept the holiday vibes going for their afternoon practice at AT&T Stadium, opening with some Christmas music over the sound system before going to work in full pads for a two-plus hour workout. Swinney said he was pleased with his squad’s attention to detail for their customary TANOGA (Takeaways No Giveaways) Tuesday practice.
“If I walked in on a Tuesday and didn’t talk about ball security, they’d all look at me like I’m crazy,” said Swinney. “It’s a big part of the game. It creates field position for you or against you. So we pride ourselves that we are plus in the turnover margin this year. I know that will be a big part of the game Saturday night.”
Clemson returned to its hotel after practice for another Cotton Bowl Classic tradition. The team will gather for their Sign and Dine event, a private meal where the players receive autograph footballs to have their teammates and coaches sign to create personalized keepsakes from their bowl experience.
On Wednesday, the Tigers are back on the practice field in the afternoon following selected coaches and student-athletes participating in a College Football Playoff media availability in the morning.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 83rd anniversary on Saturday, Dec. 29. Live coverage on ESPN is set for 3 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 3:10 p.m.
This marks the fifth consecutive year for the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic to be a part of the ESPN bowl lineup. Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge are set to provide the call from the booth with Holly Rowe and Tom Rinaldi reporting from the sidelines.
ESPN Radio returns as the Classic’s national radio partner for the seventh consecutive year. Bill Rosinski teams with David Norrie in the booth and Ian Fitzsimmons on the sidelines to describe all the action from AT&T Stadium.