Clemson's new trio says offense won't change
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson's new offensive leaders say the 18th-ranked Tigers will maintain their aggressive, fast-paced style that former coordinator Chad Morris brought in four seasons ago.
Co-coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott said Friday that a high tempo has been a critical part of Clemson's success and that won't change with them in charge. The Tigers also added quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter to fill that aspect of Morris' job. Morris left earlier this month to become SMU's head coach.
Morris' offenses averaged better than 40 points and 500 yards in 2012 and 2013 with a quick-strike attack that often wore out opponents. The Tigers were 41-11 in Morris' time. Elliott was running backs coach and Scott receivers coach throughout Morris' tenure.
''You're not going to see what we do change,'' said Elliott, a former standout receiver for Clemson.
Both Elliott and Scott said Morris prepared them to one day move up to larger roles once he departed.
Elliott and Scott get their first chance in charge when the Tigers (9-3) face Oklahoma (8-4) in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Elliott will call plays from the coaches' box up top on game days with Scott on the sidelines. Swinney added that Elliott, who earned an engineering degree at Clemson, is a cerebral person who can cut through the headset chatter and bring clarity to choosing the right plays to keep the Tigers moving.
Scott, part of Clemson's staff since 2008, has been adept at developing and managing receivers in the Tigers' complex schemes, Swinney said.
''They are two incredibly gifted, young coaches who had huge roles'' in Clemson's game planning and decision making under Morris, Swinney said.
Scott joked that he offered to call plays on first and second down and let Elliott handle the rest. The two were stretch partners as Clemson players and share a friendship Scott said will serve them well in their new roles.
''There's no ego involved,'' Elliott said.
Swinney had this succession plan in the works for when Morris, sought after for openings at Texas Tech, North Carolina State, Louisville and Vanderbilt the previous two seasons, eventually found his head coach landing spot.
''I know exactly what I want. These guys understand me and know what I want,'' Swinney said of his co-coordinators.
Like Elliott and Scott, quarterbacks coach Streeter is a former Clemson player versed in Swinney's style. Streeter played quarterback with the Tigers from 1996-99 and was a graduate assistant in 2004-05 when Swinney was the team's receivers coach.
Streeter also inherits perhaps Clemson's most important offensive playmaker in freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson.
''I just don't want to screw him up,'' said Streeter, who was Richmond's offensive coordinator the past three years. ''That's the big thing.''
Not much chance of that anytime soon. Watson had surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his left knee and will miss Clemson's bowl game and spring practice.
Watson had missed four games with injuries this season, playing with a knee brace in a 35-17 victory over rival South Carolina on Nov. 29. Watson threw for 269 yards and accounted for four touchdowns in the Tigers' win. Swinney said Watson could play in the Tigers bowl game, but changed course to get a jump on rehabilitation.
Streeter said the bonding process will Watson will also begin as soon as possible in quarterback meetings. Streeter said the two share history of overcoming injuries to succeed at Clemson. Streeter played after separating his shoulder as a sophomore and significantly injuring his ankle that bothered him throughout his junior season.
Streeter said he'll work at keeping Watson's mind on the game and what's ahead - not the two surgeries he's has endured his first year in college.
Streeter's biggest task right now is prepping backup Cole Stoudt for a final start where he wants the senior to come out in attack mode. ''We're going to start that today,'' Streeter said.