Currently, eight of his former players are lacing up their cleats on Sunday afternoons in the NFL. Deandre Hopkins is an All-Pro at Houston, while Sammy Watkins is healthy and is ready to have another breakout season in Buffalo.
Mike Williams was a top-10 draft pick by the Los Angeles Chargers this past April, while Martavis Bryant, if the NFL will lift his suspension, is said to be the NFL’s next Randy Moss by some. And let’s not forget about the kind of wide receiver Adam Humphries has become at Tampa. These are just some of the guys Jeff Scott has coached at Clemson.
However, Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach says this year’s group of wideouts mark the first time since he started coaching at Clemson in 2008 that he has nine scholarship players he feels can go out and play winning football right now.
“That’s exciting,” Scott said. “But at the same time I’m really proud of the culture when you got a guy like Ray-Ray McCloud that has taken a lot of time with a guy like Amari Rodgers.”
McCloud has missed some of practice due to a wrist injury that has limited what he can do. However, that has not stopped the junior from coaching. McCloud in turn has used the time he does have to teach Rodgers so the freshman can get better.
“To me, that is the kind of stuff I get excited about as a coach,” Scott said.
Scott said the credit for guys like McCloud, Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow stepping up and leading the younger players goes back to a conversation when head coach Dabo Swinney and the offensive coaches challenged the group. They responded by helping Rodgers and Tee Higgins during skills and drills this summer and made sure the two freshmen were ready for fall camp.
“It is their time to step up,” Scott said.
When Scott and fellow co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott met with the offense in the first meeting of fall camp, they put up the end of the year stats for the offense the last six years. In four of those six years, the Tigers were in the top 15 in total offense and scoring offense.
“In those six years, we were very consistent,” Scott said. “That was the message to the offensive guys. ‘Hey, don’t buy the lie that is out there that oh my gosh Deshaun Watson has left so Clemson’s offense is not going to be very good.’
“But guess what? We have been very consistent for six years with a lot of different guys coming in here … different coordinators, some different coaches and a lot of different players. Why is that? Because this is Clemson’s offense and there is a standard that everybody plays to. All we need those guys to do is play to that same standard and be the best version of themselves, and everything is going to work out.”
Scott remembers there was a time when he was walking off the practice field and was challenging Mike Williams saying, “This is your year.” Scott told him he had to be a dominate player. Charone Peake and those other guys are not here anymore, it’s your time.
“It is really kind of putting some ownership on those guys to really step up and perform and I feel like those guys are taking that charge very serious.”
—Above photo: Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud (far left) coaches up Cornell Powell (17) and Amari Rodgers (3) at practice earlier this week in Clemson. (photo by Will Vandervort)
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