Citadel practice at North Greenville

The Citadel football team is practicing at North Greenville University this week as the Bulldogs escape Hurricane Dorian. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

At "Camp Bulldog" this week, the 60-foot water slide is open — after practice and the 4 p.m. team meeting.

"They can go swimming in the lake if they want to. They get the paddle boats out," said Citadel football coach Brent Thompson. "They seem to be enjoying themselves."

For the third time in four years, Thompson's Bulldogs are spending a hurricane week at Lookup Lodge, a Christian camp in Travelers Rest near Greenville. The Citadel packed up the trucks and buses on Monday to escape the threat of Hurricane Dorian and prepare for Saturday's game at Elon during what it calls "Camp Bulldog."

"So far, this has been the easiest trip of the three," said Thompson. "We knew the routine and the layout up here, so we know the drill by now and the players understand it, too."

The Bulldogs have been practicing at North Greenville University, where Citadel graduate Jeff Farrington is the head coach. And The Citadel equipment staff has received assistance from the staff at rival Furman.

Some good team bonding goes on, as well. North Greenville cheerleaders presented Citadel players with snack bags on Wednesday, and the Bulldogs celebrated after practice with two student-managers who were put on equipment scholarship.

"It's kind of neat that we are able to support each other and pull together to get the job done," Thompson said. "We really appreciate their help. We're all in this together, and we're all trying to play a game on Saturday."

With no classes to worry about, it might be tempting for a coach to make the week more like a training camp week — all football, all day. But Thompson does not want to fall into that trap.

"Weeks like this can be testing on the nerves if you don't watch out," Thompson said. "We don't want to make this like preseason camp for the kids. We're able to get done what we need need to do; it's not more or less work than in a usual week, just in different facilities.

"We try not to occupy more of their time than in a regular work week."

Lookup Lodge Citadel

The Citadel football team is staying at Lookup Lodge in Travelers Rest while escaping Hurricane Dorian this week. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

Since North Greenville has a home game set for Thursday night, the Bulldogs practiced Thursday at nearby Easley High School. They will hit the road Friday for a three-hour drive to Elon, N.C.

Citadel athletic director Mike Capaccio estimated it costs between $25,000 and $35,000 to keep the Bulldogs on the road for a week.

At least this time, The Citadel did not lose out on a home game in the deal.

In 2017, the Bulldogs stayed at Lookup Lodge after Hurricane Irma forced a home game against Presbyterian to be moved to Clinton.

And in 2016, it was Hurricane Matthew that forced a home game against North Greenville to be moved to the NGU campus in Tigerville.

The Citadel won both those games, so the Bulldogs are 2-0 with Lookup Lodge as their home base.

That might be a good omen heading to Elon (0-1), which lost its season opener to a ranked North Carolina A&T team, 24-21, last week. The Citadel fell, 28-21, to No. 12 Towson.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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