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Clemson is going through perhaps its most substantial staffing shakeup since head coach Dabo Swinney took the job in 2008. The most familiar names have fled elsewhere. But Swinney just wants everyone to relax.
“Trust me,” Swinney told Greenville News Tuesday. “We’re going to be just fine. … There is nobody that has more at stake than Coach Swinney. It’s my livelihood. This is what I do for a living. If people don’t believe in me after 13 years of what they’ve experienced at Clemson, they ain’t never going to believe in me.”
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables, responsible for the Tigers’ No. 9 ranked defense in the nation in 2021, is now the head coach of Oklahoma. Offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, who worked with quarterbacks such as Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence, took the head coaching job at Virginia last week. If you want to go past this offseason, former co-offensive coordinator alongside Elliott, Jeff Scott, became the head coach at South Florida ahead of the 2020 season.
So, a program that prides itself on continuity, is now missing the key components of its two national championship teams in the last five years.
The solution for Swinney? Look within. Rather than taking days and weeks to bring in new staff, Swinney opted to give some promotions. Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter is now offensive coordinator. Senior defensive analyst Wes Goodwin is now co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
Asked how long it took to make those hires, Swinney said it was pretty simple.
“Sometimes it’s easy,” Swinney said. “Thirty seconds. It would be hard for me to interview somebody in 30 seconds. That’s how long it took to make a decision.”
The 2021 season proved to be a challenging one for Clemson. The Tigers finished 9-3, with losses to Georgia, NC State and Pittsburgh — a far cry from the team that had previously played in the College Football Playoff every season since 2015. Sophomore quarterback DJ Uiagalelei also had a disappointing season after being touted as a Heisman Trophy favorite back in the early fall.
Clemson will face Iowa State (7-5) in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 29 at 5:45 p.m..