Jeff Scott departs for South Florida: What's next for Clemson program?
|Monday, December 9, 2019 1:50 PM- -|
Yes, Clemson co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jeff Scott is reportedly headed to South Florida to become the Bulls’ head coach. As soon as the news started to leak out, the hand-wringing and angst started for those wondering if Scott’s departure will adversely affect the Clemson program.
If that happens? He will be missed, that is for sure. But the short answer is no because the Clemson program is bigger than any one person – except for Dabo Swinney – and it’s Swinney who always has a plan of succession in place.
Scott has worked on the Tigers' staff since 2008 and was a finalist for the Broyles Award (top assistant coach) in 2018. He would be the first Clemson coordinator to leave during the team's historic five-year run that includes five straight College Football Playoff appearances and two national titles.
South Florida is replacing Charlie Strong, who was fired earlier this month after he went 21-16 in three seasons, but had a 4-14 record over the Bulls' past 18 months.
Scott has been valuable both for his coaching and his recruiting. A tireless recruiter, it was under his guidance that the Tigers started this current run of success. When Scott was named the co-offensive coordinator when Chad Morris left for SMU, Swinney brought in former Clemson quarterback Brandon Streeter as the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator.
However, Scott has still had a heavy presence on the recruiting side of things and there is no doubt that it was largely because of Scott that the Tigers have been able to land receivers like Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross, Mike Williams, DeAndre Hopkins, and others. That will be tough to replace, but Swinney always has a plan in place.
When Swinney hired Chad Morris, he made sure that both Tony Elliott and Scott absorbed as much knowledge as they could about being an offensive coordinator and about Morris' system. Then when Morris moved on, it was a natural move to make those two co-offensive coordinators.
When Swinney announced that the two youngsters would take over for Morris, many wondered why he wouldn’t go out and hire a seasoned or name coach. Since then, the Tigers are 69-4 with two national titles and five consecutive playoff appearances.
Remember Charlie Harbison, the secondary coach? When he left Clemson Swinney’s first call was to Mike Reed. People seem to forget that both Dan Brooks and Marion Hobby left after Clemson’s title in 2016, but Swinney knew from working in camps with Todd Bates that Bates would be his guy. He also brought in former teammate Lemanski Hall and stashed him on his support staff in the hopes Hall could take over one of the defensive line spots when a 10th coach was added. It happened and now Hall is not only a respected coach but a great recruiter.
Bates helped land Justyn Ross and has been invaluable in landing some of the kids from Alabama.
Former teammate Mickey Conn was brought in at the same time as an “analyst” and he served in that role for one season but took over after the Brooks and Hobby departures.
In other words, while Clemson’s staff hasn’t been hit as hard as Alabama over the years, there have been losses. And the machine keeps rolling. Swinney has former players like DeAndre McDaniel, Roderick McDowell, Tyler Grisham, and Miguel Chavis as GA’s now. All of those guys help with recruiting (only on campus, per NCAA rules) and are ready to go somewhere else or stay here if needed. Former GA’s like Thomas Austin and Jay Guillermo are on staff at Georgia State. There is always a plan, and I think Grisham will get the job as wide receivers coach. He played here, he is a family man, he has been learning under Scott for two years and the recruits rave about him. It’s his time.
Streeter could move into a co-offensive coordinator role and that way he learns from Elliott – it won’t be too much longer before Elliott is running his own program – and the transition will once again be seamless.
There is always a plan, and Clemson’s machine keeps on rolling.