Dabo Swinney made it to Alabama’s 1992 national championship team reunion on Saturday, and brought a few of his Clemson pals with him.
The extent to which Swinney, head coach of the Clemson Tigers, has relied on ties that date back to his playing days with the Crimson Tide in building that program showed in the number of members of that UA title team he brought with him.
Swinney was accompanied by Woody McCorvey (wide receivers coach at Alabama in 1992, associate athletics director for football administration at Clemson), Danny Pearman (offensive tackles coach and special teams coordinator at UA, assistant head coach, tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Clemson), Thad Turnipseed (sophomore linebacker at UA, director of recruiting and external affairs at Clemson), Lemanski Hall (junior linebacker at UA, senior defensive analyst at Clemson) and Mickey Conn (sophomore cornerback at UA, safeties coach at Clemson).
The Clemson crew took a plane down after the TIgers’ game at Syracuse on Friday night. The scheduling allowed them to make the reunion. The 1992 team, along with head coach Gene Stallings, was honored on the field during the Alabama-Arkansas game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“Just coming in and out,” Swinney told The Tuscaloosa News by text message. “Low profile. Don’t want to be a distraction.
“Happy it worked out and get to see teammates and be with Coach (Stallings).”
Swinney, a senior wideout on the 1992 team from Pelham, coached Clemson to a national championship victory over Alabama last season after losing to his alma mater in the title game the year before. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Stalling in 1993 and coached at UA through 2000.
Swinney was named interim head coach at Clemson in 2008 and retained as full-time coach. He has the Tigers in national championship contention again, with Clemson ranked No. 2 behind top-ranked Alabama going into the weekend. The Tigers lost to Syracuse Friday night with starting quarterback Kelly Bryant suffering a concussion in the first half.
He received a loud ovation from the Bryant-Denny Stadium crowd when he was introduced during the team’s recognition before the game.
When Damien Harris took a handoff 75 yards on Alabama’s first offensive play, it was the fifth time in the Nick Saban era that the Crimson Tide scored on its first play from scrimmage.
It happened in 2007 against Western Carolina, in 2010 against Duke, in 2014 against Florida, again in 2014 against Tennessee and Saturday night with Harris’ run against Arkansas.
Harris’ run Saturday was the same distance he scored from against Texas A&M the week before. His previous long was 61 yards against Vanderbilt.
Atop the division
With Auburn’s 27-23 loss to LSU, Alabama sits atop the SEC West standings along in first place.
The Crimson Tide is the lone unbeaten team in conference play in the West with Auburn now having one loss.
With the 1992 national championship team recognized, a couple of members of that team — George Teague and Prince Wimbley — served as honorary captains…Bradley Bozeman, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Minkah Fitzpatrick served as captains…Arkansas won the toss and deferred…Calvin Ridley extended his consecutive-games-with-a-catch streak to 37.
Tommy Deas contributed to this report.
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.