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5 Clemson Storylines for Week of Uncertainty

Clemson knows it's playing Iowa State in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl, but who all coaches and plays in it, as well as who's running the athletic department, are uncertain.

Clemson knows it's going to play Iowa State in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl

What the Tigers aren't sure about is who will be running the defense and maybe the offense as well. That breeds a lot of uncertainty this week as Clemson takes exams and begins bowl prep. 

Here are five storylines to keep an eye on during what will be another wild week:

1. Brent Venables is gone: It's a hard reality for some fans and followers to wrap their heads around, but the Venables era has to a close after 10 seasons at Clemson. In fact, Oklahoma, which is giving him his first head coaching position, will. hold his introductory press conference Monday at 11:30 a.m. 

Venables is a big loss for the Tiger program. The veteran defensive coordinator has been one of the real pillars for success, especially since 2015, and there will be fallout following his official departure, potentially on the recruiting trail. 

2. Is Tony Elliott next?: Rumored to be a candidate at both Virginia and Duke, Clemson's offensive coordinator could be on the move early this week as well. Those two ACC Coastal schools are looking to end their searches relatively quickly. 

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Elliott worked with Jeff Scott beginning with the 2014 bowl game and solo for the last two years. This has been his most trying season, but there's no doubt the sought-after assistant has helped Clemson win a ton of games and is line to get his first head coaching position. 

3. Coaching search: So who will Dabo Swinney hire? Well, Clemson SI threw out a few potential external candidates over the weekend. Swinney might look to make some in-house adjustments as well. Regardless, he's got to figure out assignments for the Cheez-It Bowl and then begin searching for new staff members. 

Clemson offers attractive, well-paying jobs that will lend many qualified candidates, but it's also critical that Swinney, who hasn't had to replace a coordinator since before the CFP run, makes the right decisions. It'll be nearly impossible to immediately replace all that Venables did as a recruiter, schemer and representative of the program, but Swinney showed when landing Venables that he knows how to hire.

4. What about D-Rad?: Reports swirled all weekend that Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich could be headed to Miami. It sounds like the Hurricanes are awaiting a decision by Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal before deciding what to do with current coach Manny Diaz. 

Then they'll turn their attention to the AD position, which could be finalized in the coming days. Losing Radakovich at a time when changes are occurring on the football staff isn't ideal, but it won't take long for the university to find his replacement, who's likely already on campus. 

5. Transfers and opt-outs: Clemson lost four players last week to the NCAA transfer portal. This is another key week in seeing which Tigers stay and which head off for other opportunities with recruiting classes filling up. And with Venables gone, could some players follow him to OU?

There could also be at least some indications this week on potential opt-outs of the Cheez-It Bowl. With it not being a CFP semifinal, some players might decide to have offseason surgery a little early or just not want to put their bodies at risk. 

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