Most folks who go viral for the wrong reason never get a second shot.
The slumped fan caught at the wrong moment, the 6-year-old breaking out into a “surrender cobra,” even the Michigan punter whose eyes bulged as a snap got away a few years back – they become a lasting image.
Clemson punter Andy Teasdall might have been the same.
He was on SportsCenter, across Twitter after going rogue with a punt fake in the ACC title game against North Carolina. What gave it traction was Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, a man animated by nature, going into a full-on fit on the sideline.
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Yet the same coach was the one calling a fake punt in the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma, letting Teasdall heave the ball as he rarely does and providing the Internet with something it loves: big guys handling the ball (the target of his pass was 305-pound defensive tackle Christian Wilkins).
There was an emotional down, and then a pick-me-up.
“I’m definitely thankful that coach Swinney had the faith to call that and trust me and my abilities,” Teasdall said. “It’s certainly cool, living out God’s plan and how, it was pretty tough after that UNC game. I knew, just keep going, keep pressing. Don’t give up. And then to have that is pretty crazy. The complete opposites of the good and the bad. It’s awesome to kind of redeem myself.”
Leading up to the national title game, Teasdall didn’t seem enthused to discuss the subject. It’s one of those little oddities in college football, but he’s not giving in to that. Asked about his texts after the UNC game, he goes directly to the support lifting him up and shutting out the noise.
And his coach didn’t see it as nearly that big a deal.
“ Give me a break,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told assembled media over the weekend. “There’s a lot of players that get yelled at on national TV. Does Belichick ever yell at anybody? Does Coach Saban ever yell at anybody? People dramatize that. Y’all don’t know anything I said to him. Just because I’m speaking loud. It’s not like I’m talking about his mom or anything like that. It’s a joke. He got yelled at; so what? Give me a break. He hasn’t been through anything. He’s been to Miami Beach. He’s been in school at Clemson, he’s traveled to Arizona. He’s in a nice hotel. Life is good.”
That fake punt is something the team goes through only one time each week, after Wednesday’s practice. It’s been in the playbook for two years collecting dust, with the name “Concord,” for former punter Bradley Pinion’s hometown in North Carolina.
He got to break it out with a chance at redemption, and things are seemingly balanced ahead of a showdown for a national title.
“I’m definitely happy that I got to get on the good end of that as well, but I also appreciate the bad,” Teasdall said. “But I knew everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason behind it.”
Swinney never saw the big deal in any of the situation.
“So what? Give me a break. There’s a lot of players that get yelled at on national TV,” Swinney said Saturday. “Does (New England Patriots coach Bill) Belichick ever yell at anybody? Does Coach (Nick) Saban ever yell at anybody? People dramatize that. Y’all don’t know anything I said to him. Just because I’m speaking loud. It’s not like I’m talking about his mom or anything like that. It’s a joke.
“He got yelled at. So what? Give me a break. He hasn’t been through anything. He’s been to Miami Beach. He’s been in school at Clemson, he’s traveled to Arizona. He’s in a nice hotel. Life is good.”