SUNSET — Clemson will merit Will Merritt's praise, but how much?
The 2009 football Tigers will make Merritt's radio broadcast companion Pete Yanity beam about "orange in the end zone," but how often?
If you speak fluently Dabo, you're "All in" going into a season ripe with promise and fraught with peril.
But how "All in" is all in?
"When I talk to the team ('All in') is about being committed — doing the little things that it takes to be great on and off the field. That's what it means," head coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday at his first preseason media golf outing, held at The Reserve golf course high above Clemson Nation. "It's 'All in' all the time. It's not being 'All in' on the practice field and then going over there to the classroom and showing up 10 minutes late."
And for Tigers fans who took a liking to Swinney soon after he took over for Tommy Bowden midway through the 2008 season?
"It's about everybody being together," he said. "It's about being supportive. It's about being 'All in.' If you don't like me, that's fine, I don't care. Support these kids. Come and support them. Don't quit on these guys. Believe in them. We've got to have facilities and we have some who have committed greatly, some more than others.
"(But) it's not about money. It's not anything to do about money. It's about everybody being together and pulling the rope one direction."
So that's the Dabo definition.
Here are the three realistic 'All in' categories, as viewed from a hilltop of neutral colors.
Not so fast
You have jotted down a memo to self: Get off work early Thursday night, Sept. 10, to stock up on party supplies for Georgia Tech game on TV.
You once met Ken Hatfield.
There is a faded IPTAY sticker on the SUV.
Wait 'n see, right?
Like Dabo, you are not just worried about Georgia Tech, you fret about a Middle Tennessee State opener featuring former Clemson assistant coach Rick Stockstill at the helm of the Blue Raiders, complete with a coaching staff including former Clemson staffers or players Les Herrin, Justin Watts and Willie Simmons. Plus innovative and crafty offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, late of Auburn. Official MTSU slogan: "All in."
You can't wait to stick it to Bowden — Bobby Bowden when Florida State arrives on Nov. 7.
You might even show up for the game if your boss gives up his tickets like he did two years ago when he had to go to that outsourcing seminar in St. Pete.
Tougher than 7-6
--Truly, completely, entirely 'All in.'
New Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele is "All in" and sounded like it Tuesday when talking about his players.
"It really comes down to toughness," Steele said. "Who wants to be tough play after play after play."
You sure do.
You have received an orange 'All in' poker chip from Dabo.
Somehow, you already have the "C.J. Spiller for Heisman" growth chart poster.
You use "All in" language to inspire a youth sports teams and co-workers. Even pets.
The check is in the mail, in full support of a program with a yet unnamed rookie starting quarterback and coming off a 7-6 record in an Atlantic Coast Conference that had 10 bowl teams last season.
Reach Gene Sapakoff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5593.
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