When Clemson coach Dabo Swinney officially announced the promotion of Brandon Streeter to offensive coordinator early last week, he alluded to the fact that Clemson’s former player turned assistant passed on other opportunities, including some at the professional level, to stay at his alma mater.
Streeter confirmed that Saturday during his first media availability since his promotion. While he didn’t get into specifics about when and where, Streeter said he spoke in recent years with an NFL team initially about being its offensive coordinator.
“That job title changed as the interview process went on, but, yes, there was an opportunity in the NFL,” Streeter said. “I was just excited about learning, getting some experience interviewing and just seeing what the NFL was like because I really had no idea. I really didn’t know, and I didn’t think about it being this early in my career. That was something I hadn’t thought about a whole lot, but it was great to meet people.”
But Streeter is still at Clemson, where he’s been since leaving his FCS coordinator job at Richmond in 2015 to join Swinney’s staff as the Tigers’ quarterbacks coach. That’s the same year his play calling predecessor, Tony Elliott, was promoted to co-offensive coordinator alongside Jeff Scott, but Streeter has also had some additional duties put on his plate over the years. He serves as recruiting coordinator and had passing-game coordinator added to his title before the 2020 season once Scott took the head coaching job at South Florida.
Elliott took over as Clemson’s full-time offensive coordinator then, which came during a stretch in which the Tigers’ offense was as explosive as any in the sport. With Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne and a healthy Justyn Ross leading the way, Clemson ranked in the top 10 nationally in yards and top 5 in points from 2018-20.
The Tigers also won two national titles with Elliott as their primary play caller, which led to interest in Elliott from other FBS programs looking for a head coach. Knowing it was only a matter of time before Elliott took one, Streeter said there were “a couple of times in the past year or two” that Swinney alluded to him as the succession plan.
But Elliott turned down most of those overtures until finally taking the Virginia job earlier this month following Bronco Mendenhall’s abrupt resignation. Did Streeter ever come close to leaving for a job somewhere else not knowing exactly how long he might have to wait on Elliott to make that jump?
“I just felt so confident and comfortable here because of Tony and how he managed,” Streeter said. “Tony is a guy that’s just incredible. One of the best coaches I’ve ever been around. So I was constantly learning from him and from other coaches here as well. I just felt like as long as I continued to learn, and it’s not just about me. It’s about family. It’s about what the right thing is for my family.
“So, yeah, I definitely had some opportunities. I’m sure a lot of us had opportunities because of the success we had. That kind of comes with the territory. But never serious enough to say I’m ready to leave this place.”
Now that he’s decided to stick around, the 44-year-old Streeter will try to get Clemson’s offense back closer to the explosive unit the Tigers have grown accustomed to in recent years. Clemson has dropped off in the first season of the D.J. Uiagalelei era, ranking no better than 78th nationally in yards, points and passing offense heading into its Cheez-It Bowl matchup with Iowa State on Dec. 29.
As far as his vision for the offense moving forward, Streeter said the schematics and philosophy will largely be the same as what Clemson did when Elliott and Scott were at the controls. But he said he does plan to add his own flavor to it.
Part of that will be the play calling itself. While the opponent and the personnel will dictate the extent at times, Streeter said he generally likes to be balanced in that role.
“I know I’ve stood back there before at quarterback, and it’s not a fun job to stand back there and throw the ball 50 times a game if you don’t have a running game,” Streeter said. “That running game helps in a lot of ways.”
He also wants to be strategically aggressive with the offense he’s patiently waited to operate over the years.
“My confidence level comes from practice – how we practice, what plays are working, how fast I need to call the plays and those type of things,” Streeter said. “But there’s no doubt the first thing that comes to mind is being in attack mode. That doesn’t mean we’re throwing out 50 trick plays every game, but it does mean we’re in attack whether it’s tempo or whether it’s with certain plays.”
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