Tom Sorensen

Here’s the funny thing about that laptop on the Clemson sideline ...

After Dabo Swinney’s, left, Clemson Tigers beat N.C. State 38-31 Saturday, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren, right, saw a picture of a laptop on the Clemson bench, and asked the ACC to investigate.
After Dabo Swinney’s, left, Clemson Tigers beat N.C. State 38-31 Saturday, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren, right, saw a picture of a laptop on the Clemson bench, and asked the ACC to investigate. AP

My favorite college football coach of all time is Clemson’s Danny Ford. He was tough, he was hilarious and he was humble. He was a regular guy and a heck of a coach. We talked on a cold afternoon during a Shrine Bowl practice when the game was a big deal in Charlotte. His staff appeared to have disappeared, and he asked if I could give him a ride back to his hotel. He saw my car, a beat-up little Honda.

“I got one like that,” Ford said.

A Honda and a Jaguar share so many qualities.

Because Clemson won, Ford was accused of a lot of things. But he never was accused of having an illegal laptop on the sideline.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was. After the Tigers beat N.C. State 38-31 Saturday, Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren saw a picture of a laptop on the Clemson bench, and asked the ACC to investigate.

The ACC found nothing wrong. The laptop belonged to a Clemson student who works social media.

“I did investigate,” Swinney said Tuesday. “I did. I followed instructions to do some investigation, and I did. It turns out there was just a major crisis going on. There was a young guy trying to help a team in need and, I think, trying to be helpful in the situation. They were trying to get in touch with Amazon.

“We had a crisis. We were in dire need of towels all right. We were trying to get one of them drones to come in and drop some towels on the sideline and it just didn’t work out.”

Swinney asked if the Wolfpack had a towel wall.

Be here all season; that’s funny stuff. Perhaps all successful football coaches at Clemson are obligated to be funny.

On Saturday N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb repeatedly grabbed and stole a towel from Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant. He stole so many they could have been sewn together to form a bathrobe. So it was like stealing a white bathrobe from a concierge-level room at Marriott – except that Chubb did it front of everybody at Carter-Finley Stadium.

Doeren has had a fine season. To take a shot at Clemson is unfortunate. If the Tigers or Wolfpack or anybody else used a laptop on the sideline, you think they’d be foolish enough to get caught?

But that’s not the question. The question is: Do you really think Clemson needs a laptop to win?

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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