Players and coaches met for dinner Thursday night in the designated team dining section of the West End Zone called The P.A.W.
"It's a whole edge that we really haven't had," said Dabo Swinney on Friday night, after the team's first preseason camp practice.
"We've made the best of our [previous] situation, we really have. This is a real blessing here."
Since his first full season on the job, Swinney implemented a rule that brought the team together for the maximum number of allowed meals a day.
Those meals were typically served on the third floor of the West End Zone. The P.A.W. is housed on the second floor, along with offices, meeting rooms and the players' lounge.
Tajh Boyd, who checked in at 220 pounds during Thursday's weigh-in, is excited about the team's new dining area.
"When they did that, it just helps out more…you've got to eat healthy," he said.
His first meal at The P.A.W. was just that, a nutritious one.
Grilled chicken, corn and string beans were on the menu for Boyd and the other players that are trying to keep the weight off. The guys in need of a few extra pounds had some "unhealthy" choices.
"They definitely have some healthy options. Like for breakfast [Friday], I had some eggs, fruit and yogurt," Boyd said.
Swinney told CUTigers that a full-time nutritionist, who will work under the umbrella of the strength and conditioning staff, will be hired to run the program. Menus are designed to suit different players, based on how they need to re-shape their bodies.
"We'll know, when a guy walks in, this is what you eat," Swinney said. "This is how your body works. This is how we're going to fuel you, just really maximize that edge, to give us peak performance. That's what it's all about."
The nutritionist job listing closed about a week ago. Swinney would like for the position to be filled within the coming weeks.
All of the addition, of course, is in compliance with NCAA regulations. According to the rulebook:
220.127.116.11.6 Training-Table Meals. The cost of meals provided on the institution's training table shall be deducted from a student-athlete's board allowance, even if the student-athlete is not receiving a full grant in-aid. In determining the cost figure to be deducted, the institution may use the actual meal costs listed in the institution's catalog or the average meal costs of its student-athletes living on campus.
Swinney hopes that the NCAA will eventually deregulate its training table rules.
"Right now, it is what it is. During camp, we eat all the meals together. Once school starts, we get that one meal a day," he said. "It's going to be a good meal and it's an opportunity for everybody to spend time with each other."
And that, for Swinney, is just as important as keeping an eye on what kind of food his players are putting into their bodies.
"It's such a great space where you can build that oneness, and spend that time with each other," he said.
Tigers eating healthier
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