Jeff Scott takes pride in Clemson’s wide receiver group and its identity as ‘Wide Receiver U.’
Scott took over duties coaching wide receivers when Dabo Swinney became the Tigers’ interim head coach in 2008. Now in his 11th season coaching the wide receivers, Scott has seen several NFL receivers develop under his watch including Deandre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Mike Williams and a few others competing for spots on NFL rosters this summer.
This year the wide receiver unit has the potential to be the deepest it has been at Clemson in a long time with talented freshman Justyn Ross and Derion Kendrick, sophomores Amari Rogers and Tee Higgins, and veterans in Hunter Renfrow and Diondre Overton.
In a room with so much talent Scott certainly sees flashes of Tiger greats in his current receivers, but he tries to stay away from the comparison game.
“When I talk to the wideouts I try not to compare them to the guys that were here before them,” Scott said. “I want Tee Higgins to be the very best version of Tee Higgins. I don’t want him to worry about being Deandre Hopkins or Mike Williams, I just want him to be himself.”
Scott knows the importance of allowing young receivers to come into their own, forming their own identities on the field even if they do remind him of past receivers.
However, Scott does enjoy telling his players about characteristics of former Tigers and took some time after practice Monday to brag on one of those guys in Mike Williams.
“I do enjoy sharing the characteristics of the best of the best that have come through here. One of those is a guy that can physically and mentally go play,” he said. “Just look at the play Mike Williams made in a preseason game this weekend, I remember seeing him make those plays his redshirt junior year.”
The co-offensive coordinator was quick to tell his receivers that Williams did not always make those sorts of spectacular plays.
“He didn’t always make those plays his sophomore year, there is a transition and transformation that has to take place to become more physical,” Scott said. “I think that is where Tee is and where Diondre Overton is at.”
It is no secret that Clemson has a remarkably talented group of wide receivers nor is it abnormal, but it has to translate onto the field.
Last season the Tigers struggled to gain yardage on explosive plays, ranking 59th in the nation with 60, down from 9th nationally in 2016. This season with a plethora of weapons on the outside Scott and company hope to see that change.
Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator has seen a ton of progress from his unit, but is ready to see that come to fruition on Sept. 1 when Clemson hosts Furman at Clemson Memorial Stadium.
“Our next step is they have to go out on the field and do it and I am optimistic that they will,” he said.