Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator says he is ‘at home here’
Tony Elliott hates this time of the year.
Because it is coaching carousel season and reports, rumors and speculation on where coaches are interviewing, will interview or might interview at are plastered all of over social media.
For the third straight year, Elliott, who turned 39-years old this past Monday, continues to be one of the names that pops up as a candidate to fill some of the head coaching vacancies in college football.
Earlier this week Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator’s name was floated around at North Carolina, before the Tar Heels filled the position with Mack Brown. On Wednesday, Elliott’s name came out as one of the non-head coaching candidates to possibly replace Paul Johnson, who announced his retirement from Georgia Tech.
When Elliott spoke to the media this past Monday to preview second-ranked Clemson’s game against Pitt in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday, he said he tries not to think about any of those opportunities at this time because it is not fair to the players or the team he is coaching right now.
“I kind of hate this time of the year from that standpoint,” he said. “I have an unbelievable group of seniors and an unbelievable group of running backs. We have an unbelievable group of guys on offense that have been extremely committed to this program.
“They have been unselfish. They have been loyal. They’ve been committed, and I don’t want to be a distraction in any sense of the matter to those guys.”
Though Elliott does not want to be a distraction, unfortunately he cannot do much about it. As The Clemson Insider reported on Wednesday, sources have told us Georgia Tech will be interested in talking to the Clemson coach and will have him on their short list of coaches who do not have head coaching experience.
Also, if Georgia Tech requests to talk to Elliott about its head coaching vacancy, sources have told us he would be interested in the job.
“That stuff, as I have said before, that is the Lord’s plan,” Elliott said on Monday. “That is the Lord’s timing. All of that stuff will have its place, but right now we are in the midst of a championship run and my focus is on Clemson.
“I owe that to this program. I owe that to Coach (Dabo) Swinney, this staff, these players and that they get my best.”
Elliott is in his eighth season at Clemson as the running backs coach and his fourth as the Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator. He has called plays for the Tigers in each of his four years as the co-offensive coordinator.
This year, Clemson leads the ACC in scoring (45.7 points/game) and total offense (539.1 yards/game). Both of those numbers rank No. 5 and No. 3 respectively in the country. The Tigers also rank No. 12 at running the football, averaging 256.3 yards per game.
Clemson also ranks second nationally in yards per carry (6.62). On Wednesday, running back Travis Etienne was named the ACC’s Player of the Year, while freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was named as the conference’s Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.
Last year, Elliott was the recipient of the 2017 Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach.
Elliott has been a part of Clemson’s run of eight straight 10-win seasons. Clemson is 94-15 since he came back to Clemson in 2011. He was also the co-offensive coordinator for Clemson’s 2016 National Championship team.
“If y’all follow me on social media, I’m not on social media so I really don’t know what is going on out there, but you do get text messages and whatnot, but for me, my focus is on Clemson Football,” he said. “I am at home here. My boys were born here. I love it here, so I really have not given it much thought as to what lies beyond next week.”