Staying one play ahead

Staying one play ahead

Football

Staying one play ahead

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By Will Vandervort.

Fifteen years ago Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott were stretch partners at practice as Clemson wide receivers, now they are partners in charge of the Tigers’ offense.

“When we were teammates here, we used to stretch each other and obviously talked about the future and things and fifteen years later to be able to be in the position of influence at your alma mater, there is a lot of pride,” Scott said Friday.

Elliott and Scott were promoted to co-offensive coordinators of Clemson’s offense last week by head coach Dabo Swinney. It was a move Swinney has had in place ever since Morris’ name became a hot commodity in the head coaching ranks two years ago.

“At some point we knew the right job was going to come along and work out for (Morris) and he was going to be the right fit,” Swinney said. “I’m really excited I had the opportunity to promote Jeff and Tony and these are just two incredibly gifted young coaches that have been with me for quite a while now and have been a part of great success and to be honest with you, have had huge roles in the success we have had in every area.”

Swinney says success from the two coaches has come in the form of recruiting, game planning, game-day decision making and much more.

“These guys have worn a lot of hats for me and this program and have done a phenomenal job. Really it was an easy decision,” he said. “It is always great for me and it is the cultural I want to have – be able to promote from within when it is feasible. It is not always the case. There are a lot of things you have to weigh when making these decisions. I certainly understand how big of a decision it is because for me it is all about whom you surround yourself with.”

Swinney also surrounded himself with another former Tiger – Brandon Streeter. The former Clemson quarterback worked with Swinney as a graduate assistant coach in 2004-’05 at Clemson. The two have stayed in contacted ever since and Swinney told him when the time was right he was going to bring him on as an assistant coach.

Streeter will coach the quarterbacks and will be Swinney’s new recruiting coordinator, too.

“I figured I would be in the mix and I spoke with him briefly (after Morris left) and he told me I was going to be in the mix and to just hang tight,” Streeter said. “He was in the middle of recruiting and I was still in my season at Richmond so I think it was one of those deals after the season and after he settled in a little bit and thought about it, it came about and it worked out perfectly.”

And it has all worked out for Clemson.

The Tigers, who will play Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29, now have four former players, including tight ends coach Danny Pearman, who all love Clemson and have met their wives here, running the offense.

Elliott will call the plays from the press box, while Scott will help him communicate, along with the other offensive coaches from the sideline. And as far as how the offense will look, nothing will change.

It will be all about tempo all the time.

“Tempo is a big part of what we want to do and like Coach Swinney said that is his philosophy,” Elliott said. “He was able to bring in Chad to help establish and put the terminology in place. Tempo is something we want to continue to do. We want to continue to be aggressive and throw the ball down the field.

“We still want to have a two-back system where we want to run the ball so you will not see what we do change, but that adjustment will be getting in a rhythm. Hopefully, being in the box, I will be able to take in all the information coming from Streeter, Jeff, (Danny) Pearman and Coach (Robbie) Caldwell and hopefully be able to stay out of the chaos and keep us one play ahead if possible.”

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