In a recent appearance on ACC Network’s ACC PM show, a former ACC standout and current analyst gave some thoughts on Clemson’s offense and new coordinator Garrett Riley.
Roddy Jones, the former Georgia Tech star running back and current ESPN/ACCN analyst, spoke about what Riley brings to the Tigers offensively after being hired last month to replace Brandon Streeter as the OC/quarterbacks coach.
“With Garrett Riley, I think what he does is he brings some modernization to Clemson’s offense,” Jones said. “I think for so long, that they had better players than just about everybody they faced, and they certainly had a better quarterback than just about everybody they faced – even going back to the Tajh Boyd era, where they were a little bit more on the cutting edge. But when you go through Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence, you don’t have to be all that fancy with your preparation of the meal, because you got the best ingredients. But when the ingredients start to suffer, you’re going to have to dress that thing up a little bit. They have not gotten as good of receiver play or quarterback play since Tee Higgins and Trevor Lawrence left. And obviously, as good as Will Shipley is, Travis Etienne is tearing it up in the league right now and was a first-round pick. So, I think some of the talent drain has forced them to become a little more modern with their offense.”
The younger brother of Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley, Garrett comes to Clemson after spending the past three seasons as an offensive coordinator, first calling plays for Sonny Dykes at SMU before following Dykes to TCU this past season. At just 33 years old, he won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in helping the Horned Frogs reach the College Football Playoff for the first time in program history.
Jones believes Riley, one of the sport’s top young offensive minds, will do a good job of utilizing the weapons at his disposal and put plenty of stress on opposing defenses with his style of offense.
“Garrett Riley has an offense that challenges you in so many ways,” Jones said. “We’ve seen the bones of it with what his brother Lincoln has done for years, and the way that his style of the air raid has evolved, it’s heavily dependent on the run game setting up the pass game, it’s RPO based, it’s get the ball out quick with now screens. I hope Clemson and their fans are in love with counter by the end of the year, because you’re going to run counter about a million times. But the thing that’s cool is they’re going to run probably 10 different variations of it and then 10 different things off of it as well, and that’s the thing that really challenges with Garrett Riley – it’s motions, it’s shifts, it’s the ability to take advantage of what guys do well. So, it was really fun to watch his offense at TCU last year, it was really fun to watch his offense at SMU the year before that with Sonny Dykes. He’s one of the rising stars in the country, so I think he’ll do a really nice job utilizing the pieces that Clemson has.”
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