CLEMSON FOOTBALL

Lincoln Riley says brother Garrett is the perfect fit for Clemson
The Riley brothers last competed in the Big 12 together and now are in key roles on opposite coasts. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj / USATODAY)

Lincoln Riley says brother Garrett is the perfect fit for Clemson


by - Senior Writer -

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney wants to make sure that anyone he lets inside his program, whether it’s a player or a coach, is the right fit for the culture he has created. Lincoln Riley thinks his brother, new Clemson offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, is the perfect fit.

Swinney parted ways with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter a few weeks ago, one of the rare times that Swinney has parted ways with a longtime and loyal assistant. He hired Garrett Riley away from TCU, and Garrett’s older brother Lincoln, the head coach at USC, thinks his little brother is the right fit for what Swinney wants.

“Well, I think first with the staff and the culture there. We’ve gotten to know Dabo and know his family, that staff the last several years,” Lincoln told Brad Senkiw of 105.5 The Roar. “Actually crossed paths randomly snow skiing with those guys a couple of times and I’ve got to be around them a lot and seeing just kind of how they run the program, you know how Dabo leads…that kind of the family first feel. Then competing at a high level but doing it with integrity and character I think was very very important to the fit for Garrett and for his family.

“And so I think that’s a great fit. And then obviously you know there’s a lot of really talented football players there and they’re looking for a little bit of a spark offensively to get them ratcheted back up again. Garrett is excited about the opportunity to work with those coaches there, to work with those players.”

Lincoln said that Clemson is a place that is “primed for success” under Garrett.

“Garrett was in a great position at TCU and wasn’t certainly looking to leave by any stretch,” Lincoln said. “As he kind of took a step back and looked at this, and we had a chance to chat about it just a little bit, you could look at this situation and see it’s primed for success and I know he feels that and is excited to go in there and do his part.”

Both Riley brothers use the Air Raid system honed by the late Mike Leach. However, both have taken the Leach principles a step further in using a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his legs and featuring a power running game.

Garrett will also keep it simple.

“He’s going to communicate what’s necessary, but he also understands that you’ve got to be able to also find a way to keep it simple enough that these guys can really understand it and get confident in it, go produce,” Lincoln said. “And he’s got a great feel for where that line is and that’s, I think that’s critical.

“He’ll get (the offense) implemented quickly, and that won’t take long. The good thing is he’s already done this at a couple of schools and done it with a large amount of success. He’s going to walk in that door knowing exactly what needs to be done and get everybody in the right spot.”

What does Lincoln see in Clemson?

“My sense of watching Clemson is they were close and a lot of times probably not as far away when it wasn’t going well, as people thought,” he said. “A lot of times it could just be a quick kind of philosophy change or a change in a coach or coordinator to just come in and give it that little spark to get it going. I see what you would expect: a lot of talented players on the field, a young quarterback that I think people should be excited about and obviously a history of a lot of great players.”

Garrett is already mentioned as future head coach, but Lincoln said he knows his little brother is only worried about Clemson at this point.

“I wouldn’t say in a hurry. I think he certainly wants to be, but not necessarily in a hurry,” Lincoln said. “I think he’s more concerned with being in the right situations with the right people, having chances to have success and you keep doing that and you do a good job in the roles that you’re at, those opportunities will show up. So he’s not worried about that right now. He wants to do the best job for Clemson that he can. I can promise you that that will be his only focus.”

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