Swinney says Brent Venables “Ain’t got no time for head space”
BART BOATWRIGHT/Staff, The Greenville News
CLEMSON – Sports psychologist Dr. Milt Lowder has a brief meeting with the Clemson football team every Thursday.
Well, most of the Clemson football team.
The Thursday before the N.C. State game a couple of weeks ago, everyone was participating in a meditation exercise in the team room, save for defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
“It’s just basically chilling for three minutes,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “There’s some guy (on a Headspace app) and he’s got that weird voice and he’s talking to you and everybody in the room has their eyes closed – ‘feel your weight on the seat, let your mind wander.’ It goes through all this stuff and it’s kind of nice.”
Clemson football administrator Woody McCorvey took photos during the session, resulting in a rather revealing snapshot that left Swinney, his staff and players doubled up in laughter when Swinney showed it to everyone the Sunday after the Tigers beat N.C. State 41-7.
“The photo is of the whole room, and there’s Venables still drawing plays in the back of the room,” Swinney said. “He ain’t paying attention; he’s still drawing stuff. Brent ain’t got no time for Headspace; he’s got no space left in there.”
While the photo was worth a good laugh, the weekly meditation could be paying dividends.
“It’s one of those things the whole team’s been doing and the coaches, too,” Swinney said. “I participate every Thursday. It’s teaching you how to relax.”
Some players have taken the practice to heart, including wide receiver and punt return specialist Amari Rodgers, who’s coming off the best game of his career – a 218-yard all-purpose yardage day against Florida State.
It has been particularly beneficial when fielding punts.
“When the ball’s in the air, it’s quiet and it’s just you and the ball,” Rodgers said. “You’ve got to catch it. I’ve been working on meditation-type stuff just to help me calm down. Before I catch a punt I take three deep breaths to help me calm down and focus on the ball.”
Rodgers says he plans to continue to employ the deep-breathing approach on Saturday when the No. 2-ranked and undefeated Tigers (8-0) play host to Louisville (2-6) at Memorial Stadium.
What: Louisville at No. 2 Clemson