Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had one simple request for son Will on his first run into Death Valley last Saturday.
"He had told me before, 'Hey, whenever you come down, come by and give me a hug,'" the younger Swinney recalled. "I was like, 'Uh, I don't know.'"
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Will Swinney is Clemson's first-year holder who saw his initial action last week in the Tigers 56-3 romp over Kent State. Swinney expects to get several more chances when No. 3 Clemson faces 13th-ranked Auburn on Saturday night.
Will Swinney had always wanted to make it on his own and says he works hard to ensure his teammates see him as just another Tiger and not the coach's eldest son.
Swinney's father has been a Clemson assistant or head coach since 2003, giving him ample opportunities to run down the hill in big moments with his father. Instead, Will passed them all by, choosing to wait to run down in Clemson's traditional entrance until he was in uniform as a Tiger.
The moment was everything he hoped for, Swinney said.
Clemson players ride buses from their locker room to the other side of the stadium where they gather at Howard's Rock before running down the hill to start the game.
Swinney was overwhelmed by the view in a jam-packed stadium. "I almost forgot we were running down," he said.
In the end, son passed by father and gave him a quick hug to start their game-day career as coach and player.
"It was a really neat moment," Will Swinney said.