Swinney-Venables collaboration has worked out well

Swinney-Venables collaboration has worked out well


Swinney-Venables collaboration has worked out well


Clemson is 111-14 since 2012

This coming Thursday, C.J. Spiller will be officially hired by the Board of Trustees as Clemson’s new running backs coach.

Spiller, who will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame later this year, is another splash hire by Dabo Swinney. Outside of Nick Saban at Alabama, few coaches have done a better job of solidifying a coaching staff than Swinney.

Just look at Swinney’s track record for evidence. He brought in Chad Morris to run the offense in 2011, instantly, the Clemson offense improved and a quarterback with no real experience prior to 2011 led the Tigers to their first ACC Championship in 20 years. Tajh Boyd went on to win ACC Player of the Year honors in 2012, was a First-Team All-American and led Clemson to back-to-back 11-2 season in 2012 and 2013.

After Morris left Clemson to be the head coach at SMU in 2014, Swinney promoted Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott to co-offensive coordinator roles and brought in Brandon Streeter to coach the quarterbacks. The results speak for themselves.

Clemson’s offense has consistently been ranked among the nation’s best in terms of scoring, passing and total offense during the six years both coordinated the offense, while Streeter came in and helped Cole Stoudt earn MVP honors in a bowl game, Kelly Bryant earn MVP honors in the 2017 ACC Championship Game and coached up Heisman Trophy Finalist Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence.

Swinney has made several other good hires through the years that has allowed the Tigers to have one of the more successful runs in the history of college football the last 10 years.

But off all the coaching moves Swinney has made, the best one came in 2012. After Clemson parted ways with Kevin Steele following the 2011 season, then Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables reached out to Swinney about the job opening.

Venables wanted to get out of the shadow of his mentor, Bob Stoops, and prove he could be just as successful of a coach somewhere else. Though an offensive minded coach, Swinney has always known in order for Clemson to take the next step and become an elite program, it had to get better on defense.

Though it was a little rocky at first, the Swinney-Venables collaboration has worked out perfectly for Clemson.

Since 2013, the Clemson defense has led the nation in at least one statistical category every year. Venables’ 2014 defense led the nation in total defense and 10 other categories, while his 2018 defense led the country in scoring defense and several other categories as well.

Starting in 2013, no team has more sacks and tackles for loss than Clemson, and it is not even close. The Tigers have not lost more than three games in any year since Venables stepped on the Clemson campus.

Married with an offense that is consistently in the top 10 in scoring and total offense, the Tigers have posted a 111-14 record since 2012. They have won two national championships, played for the national title two other times, made the College Football Playoff six straight times, and won each of the last six ACC Championships.

It goes without saying, Swinney bringing Venables on board was the best decision of all the great ones he has made at Clemson to this point.



A former Clemson football star in the NFL is at the top of an impressive list. The Atlanta Falcons showed some love to A.J. Terrell via Twitter on Saturday, posting a graphic on the former Tiger and (…)

More The Clemson Insider