ESPN analyst: Swinney not going to change things up in response to outside criticism

ESPN analyst: Swinney not going to change things up in response to outside criticism


ESPN analyst: Swinney not going to change things up in response to outside criticism


In a recent edition of The ESPN College Football Podcast, there was a discussion about Dabo Swinney doubling down on something that has worked for him at Clemson so far, which is internal promotions within his coaching staff.

After Chad Morris left Clemson at the end of the 2014 season to become the head coach at SMU, Swinney filled the offensive coordinator role vacated by Morris, by internally promoting Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott to co-offensive coordinators.

And of course, Swinney looked no further than his own coaching staff again recently when Elliott was hired as the new head coach at Virginia and former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables departed to be Oklahoma’s next head coach.

Swinney promoted quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter to replace Elliott in the offensive coordinator role, while promoting Wes Goodwin from senior defensive assistant to defensive coordinator/linebackers coach in place of Venables and giving safeties coach Mickey Conn the role of co-defensive coordinator.

ESPN writer/analyst Andrea Adelson was asked on The ESPN College Football Podcast if she was at all surprised that Swinney didn’t go outside of the program to fill either coordinator spot vacated by Elliott and Venables.

“Not surprised at all,” Adelson said. “If the last year and a half to two years have shown anything about Dabo, it’s that this outside criticism that he has received in greater quantities than at the beginning of Clemson’s rise has really had him close in ranks and really keep a lot of things within the Clemson family. And I think that is a result of this idea that people on the outside don’t get us – we get us – and I’ve built something here that only the people inside these doors can truly understand and appreciate. Nobody understands and appreciates that outside of our walls.

“And that’s a big reason why he decided to stay in house with these promotions. It worked for him previously with Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott when they were promoted to co-offensive coordinator after Chad Morris left. It was an easy, seamless transition, and now both of those coordinators are head coaches. So, that just gives Dabo more proof that the way he has done things there, the way he structured the program, it works.”

Adelson added that the fact Swinney didn’t consider external hires for his coordinator positions tells her something about how Swinney feels about his program and his way of doing things, even after a relatively down season in 2021.

Said Adelson: “If you’re sitting on the outside like we are and you see where Clemson is right now and what happened this past season, where Clemson on offense did not look like Clemson, you’re thinking, ‘Well this is a great chance for reflection, reinvention, to sit back and take stock – who are we, what do we want to do here, maybe we could benefit from bringing in some new blood, a different voice, a different mindset for offense.’ And he didn’t even think about doing that.

“So, again, it leads me to believe that Dabo is very comfortable with where things are within the program, with how he does things, and he is not going to change anything just because there happens to be people yapping about how he needs to change.”

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