October 23, 2010
Clemson had a surprisingly easy time of it today against Georgia Tech, sprinting out to a quick 17-0 lead in the first 16 minutes and somehow limiting the Yellow Jackets' leading rusher, option master Josh Nesbitt, to two yards on the ground in a 27-13 win. In fact, the most harrowing moment of the day, according to coach Dabo Swinney? The pregame elevator ride that nearly cost the Tigers three-fifths of the their starting offensive line and starting fullback, along with eight others:
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Saturday evening that 12 players missed the team's pre-game meal. Though for good reason.
Said Swinney: "I said, 'You gotta be kidding me. There's no way (we have 12 guys miss the pre-game meal).' All were trapped in an elevator, in between the first and second floors. It was (Antoine) McClain, (Chris) Hairston, (Tyler) Fowler, (Matt) Sanders, David Smith, Dwayne Allen, Chad Diehl, (Drew) Traylor … every big person on our team. 5,000 pounds. And they were trapped in there for almost 50 minutes.
"The fire department came. They had to break the door and hold it to where they could crawl out and jump down. There were standing ovations as they were coming out soaking wet. They were shaken up by it. I told them in there … this is about momentum. No fire alarm, no elevator, none of that could have stopped the momentum we're building. They shook it off and we went back."
I don't know what the capacity is on that elevator, but based on their listed weights, the eight players Swinney mentioned average 299 pounds per man and come in at a combined weight of more than a ton – 2,390 pounds, to be precise. Why they were soaking wet is the mystery. Sweat? Tears? The latest mockery by M. Knight Shyamalan?
Whatever it was, Swinney might want to consider trying it again next week: The linemen came out of the ordeal to pave the way for a career day from running Andre Ellington (166 yards, two touchdowns) and didn't allow a sack in the Tigers' biggest win of the year to date.