In college football, coaches must not only make the game plan and develop the players to perform to the best of their abilities, but they also face an even greater challenge: pleasing and rousing their respective fanbases.
And for a school like Clemson, a large fanbase is always present, and large fanbases want to see wins being put on the board. If the wins keep coming, so do the fans. But even through the regular season struggles, the true fans are revealed, while the bandwagon fans quickly separate themselves.
And those that are from the outside looking in are asking one thing: How do you know that you're a Clemson fan?
Well, we shall explain the qualities and traits of the solid orange Clemson fan.
Clemson fans are always looking forward to that next weekend, and the most loyal of Clemson fans begin their college football preparations that Thursday, allowing for maximum enjoyment when they wake up that Saturday morning.
If you're a true Clemson fan, your weekend begins, not that Friday, but in fact begins the day before, when you can feel the weekend right around the corner.
Being a Clemson fan does not mean simply going to the game or watching it on TV. It also means tailgating several hours prior, getting good food and drink and having a good time. It's a great social period to invite family and friends alike to join in the fun.
Tailgating is also a time for good music, meeting new people and also talking about other college football teams besides the one you are there for.
And for away games, you go to a friend's place for tailgate headquarters.
Tailgating before also means you tailgate several hours after, especially if it's an early game, and gives you time to finish the food and drink you left behind and to catch up on the rest of College Football Saturday. And if there's a big primetime game and you happen to be at the Clemson game, you simply relocate from the parking lot to your place of residence.
Good friends, family, and food—what more could you ask for in a tailgate?
If you're a true Clemson fan, you should know the Clemson University Alma Mater sung before every Clemson football game.
Because in Death Valley, that is "Where The Blue Ridge Yawns Its Greatness."
The most loyal of Clemson fans can sing every word of the alma mater and must be able to sing it with pride alongside the rest of the Clemson Tiger faithful.
Every true Clemson fan has at least had to have experienced a Clemson home game and "The Most 25 Exciting Seconds of College Football."
What are these exciting seconds? Why, it's when Clemson traditionally runs down what is known as "The Hill" in their stadium, touching Howard's Rock on the way down, a tradition that the football team does for every home game. Touching Howard's Rock signifies that everyone gives 110 percent in everything they do.
And, as Coach Frank Howard said: "If you don't give 110 percent, then keep your filthy hands off my rock."
Clemson fans show their pride by participating in Solid Orange Fridays. If the weekends start on Thursdays for Clemson fans, that means you start by wearing your solid orange that Friday before the game on Saturday.
Clemson nation is united by its solid orange pride and spirit. And Clemson fans want to take that pride and spirit with them on Saturday to support their Tigers under one color: orange.
The biggest, most important games of the season always bring the most people on Saturdays. And people should not come to a football game to simply be quiet and watch the game. Football players feed off of positive energy and adrenaline, especially at home.
And if 11 defensive players are on the field, it's up to Clemson fans to become that 12th man for their defense to throw off the opposing quarterbacks and help make life (and communication) difficult for opposing offenses, and let the nation know that you can't step into Death Valley and expect to just walk away with an easy win.
All Clemson fans share one common enemy: the dreaded Carolina Gamecocks.
As much as you want Clemson to win every game they play, you are also hoping for South Carolina to lose every single game they play, no matter the opponent. And should Clemson lose a tough game, you hope South Carolina suffers the burden of a big loss. But it's all the sweeter when Clemson wins and South Carolina loses.
And by the time the rivalry rolls around, you hope to maintain the bragging rights and exploit the weaknesses the Gamecocks have been so prone to. And it does a Clemson fan's heart good to see head coach Steve Spurrier frustrated and throwing his headset, especially in a bad loss.
For Clemson fans, that's a good weekend of college football.
In football, there are loyal fans, and then there are bandwagon fans. And if you're a loyal fan, then you stick with the team through thick and thin.
That means sticking with the team despite the toughest of losses, especially when that team gives up 70 points and makes the wrong kind of history in a BCS bowl game. The most loyal of fans have stuck around despite the under-performing years of the decade-long Tommy Bowden era, ridden with excuses and lost opportunities.
Only those who have stuck around through these kinds of trials can call themselves true Clemson fans.
Every Clemson fan must know the names of the players who help to make the season an exciting and successful one.
On offense, fans should know about Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd, and Andre Ellington. On defense, while lacking the playmaking ability, fans should at least have known about sack monster Andre Branch.
Fans should know their players, or they can't really be called fans.
The night time atmosphere in Death Valley, South Carolina is like no other in South Carolina. It allows fans to get their fill of college football during the day and devote the rest of their energy towards the team for the rest of that night. At night, the beast known as the student section truly comes alive, having had all day to prepare to break the Death Valley sound barrier.
If you're a true Clemson fan, you must have the opportunity to experience a primetime night game in Clemson, South Carolina, where the fans show why Death Valley is one of the hardest places to perform in the South.