Garrett Riley: Similarities and Differences in Clemson and TCU

Cade Klubnik, Garrett Riley (Jason Priester All Clemson)

Clemson offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach following his lone season at TCU in 2022 in which he helped turn the Horned Frogs from a 5-7 squad into a group that went 13-2 and earned a berth in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

In three years as an offensive coordinator prior to his arrival at Clemson at SMU (2020-21) and TCU (2022), all three Riley offenses finished in the top 15 nationally in scoring offense. His units as the coordinator at SMU and TCU from 2020-22 combined would rank third in the nation in points per game in that span at 38.6 points per game, trailing only Ohio State (44.0) and Alabama (43.0) in that stretch. 

Riley’s 2022 TCU squad led the FBS with 22 plays from scrimmage of 50 yards or more. He envisions that same explosiveness being central to Clemson’s new offensive identity.

However, this year is completely different than what he walked into at TCU–he has to deal with a program that has done things differently from him for the past eight years.

“At the last place…there was some familiarity with kind of what we were doing in terms of scheme and some of the coaching. We’re already prone to kind of what we did,” Riley said. “So that helped at the last place and here it is, look, definitely a fresh start. Change and some terminology and things of that nature but a lot of things conceptually are the same.

“It just may be taught a little differently. Different philosophy, just kind of a different way of thinking more than anything and that’s what’s been neat to see so far. The buy-in from the staff, I mean from day one of just kind of being open-minded and really just digesting everything we’re trying to accomplish and up to this point with our players. I mean they’re eager to really learn this quickly and just kind of get in a groove and that’s what’s been good so far is three days into it. I think it’s a good foundation for us from a player standpoint.”

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