Dabo Swinney doesn’t like wasted energy on things like uniforms. Hence why fans know exactly what the Tigers will wear on a game-to-game basis.
When he took over as interim head coach, Swinney wanted to simplify Clemson’s uniform options, so that he and others didn’t have to spend time figuring it out every week, which was a trend under his former boss Tommy Bowden.
Where many schools have trended towards more uniform options and combinations, no doubt inspired by programs like Oregon, Clemson has set rules for what it will wear and when.
At home, it is orange jerseys and white pants. On the road, all whites. The purple uniforms are broken out for Military Appreciation Day games. And if Clemson is competing for some kind of championship, the Tigers wear orange pants.
That rule was broken once: for Clemson’s first win with Dabo Swinney as head coach. The Tigers wore “orange britches” for that trip, despite it not being a championship, although Swinney still counts it among the biggest games in his career. This weekend, the Tigers will be back in those pants for the first time at Boston College since, with the ACC Atlantic hanging in the balance.
Dabo Swinney expounded on his decision to simplify the Clemson football uniform rotation, and he took his inspiration from his alma mater Alabama.
“You talk about wasted energy every single week. Can we wear this? I was like, can we just worry about what matters in this? And that’s what I came from, I mean, there was no discussion about a uniform where I came from for 13 years. You just didn’t even talk about it. And so I wanted to just kind of create that consistency and that mindset. So, I sat down and looked at old pictures. And I said ‘this is what we should be and this is what we should do.’ And this is where we ended u, and I knew there was an orange britches tradition, something that was unique to Clemson and I didn’t want to lose that.
“I just said we would wear the orange pants when there’s some type of championship on the line. If there isn’t then we aren’t wearing them. We started that in 2009. We actually, ironically, wore them in my very first win. That was a championship, trust me. We probably aren’t here now if not for that, trust me. So now we kind of started that consistency and then obviously the purple has been a part of our history, too. And so, we kind of incorporated that into the military appreciation as a way to embrace that part of our uniform, but honor the military. But we don’t have any questions. There’s no drama or any of that stuff.”
Incorporating stuff from ‘Bama is way easier said than done, but Clemson is probably the closest thing there is in the sport at this point, and one of the few programs that have give the Crimson Tide a constant challenge. It’s impossible to argue with the results.