Clemson coaches meet with Houston's Tom Herman to exchange ideas


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Scott poses with Houston's Tom Herman
Scott poses with Houston's Tom Herman

CLEMSON – Three of the best offensive coaching staffs in all of college football converged in Houston last month for an exchange of ideas.

Clemson’s offensive coaching staff traveled to Houston in mid-February to meet with Cougar head coach Tom Herman and his offensive staff, and they were joined by the offensive staff from Oklahoma St. Clemson finished 11th nationally in total offense last season, Houston finished 20th and Oklahoma St. finished 22nd.

Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said the trips are a way to share ideas with coaches who run similar offenses.

“We were out there for three days. The thing is that Coach (Dabo) Swinney challenges our coaches every year. Just like we challenge our players to improve and get better, he challenges his coaches to see what other people are doing, to share ideas and find ways to do maybe some things that we do a little bit better than what we are doing and that's really what it's all about,” Scott told TigerNet. “Last year we weren't able to get out, but this year we wanted to get around some people we respect and are maybe doing some similar things but maybe have a few different wrinkles and a few different things, and we can figure out some things that they've done that's been really good for them and share some of our ideas. It was very beneficial. Oklahoma St. was also out there, so the three of us kind of got in a room for a few days and shared some ideas, and I think we got some good stuff out of it.”

The relationship between Clemson’s coaches and Houston’s Herman began the spring before Clemson played Ohio St. in the Orange Bowl. Herman was Ohio St.’s offensive coordinator and he made the trek to Clemson to meet with then-offensive coordinator Chad Morris and a staff that included Scott and Tony Elliott. Herman brought wide receivers coach Zach Smith – the grandson of former Ohio St. head coach Earl Bruce – on that trip.

“Coach Herman and Zach Smith - the wideout coach at Ohio St. - they actually came to Clemson the spring before the Orange Bowl, and that is where we kind of made that first connection,” Scott said. “And then we ran into them on the recruiting trail. And after the Orange Bowl against Ohio St., that next spring we went up to Ohio St. and this is the third year we've gotten together with Coach Herman.”

Scott wouldn’t delve too much into the conversations or what the coaches took from the meetings, but did say they are a way to see what other coaches think.

“We are not trying to change what we do, but maybe just find a few new wrinkles. They see different things in their league than what we see, and we are kind of getting some different ideas,” he said. “A few things that are similar philosophically to what we do but also a little bit different - routes or run-pass options or screens or things that can help us. We all kind of watch each other throughout the year and you can give each other feedback on what we've seen that they did well or things they could do better. And they gave us the same feedback, so it's good to get in the room and talk to other people and hear them evaluate what you're doing and see what they see on video and ask questions. It's just good professional development.”




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