Is Riley a New Starting Point for Clemson Football?

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Though Dabo Swinney brought in the top assistant coach in the country this past January, to him, when the start of the 2023 season begins later this summer, it will be no different than any other year.

“I think every year is a new start, whether you have one change, ten changes, it is a new start,” he said Tuesday from the Greenville Civic, as IPTAY wrapped up its annual Clemson Prowl and Growl Tour. “It does not matter what you did last year. None of that stuff matters.”

This part January, the Clemson head football coach went out and hired former TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley to revamp a Clemson offense that had gone stale in recent years. Swinney also made several changes to his support staff, bringing in some fresh faces with fresh ideas in hopes of getting the Tigers back to the College Football Playoff.

After making the CFP a record six straight seasons from 2015-’20, Clemson has missed the playoff in each of the last two years, part of the reason was due to an offense that was not producing the kind of numbers needed to be a CFP team.

Some believe Swinney made the changes in hopes of jump starting another run similar to when he brought in Chad Morris in 2011 to get the offense rolling and then Brent Venables in 2012 to make the defense an elite unit.

Since 2011, the Tigers have won at least 10 games every year. The 12 straight seasons rank third all-time in FBS history for consecutive 10-win seasons, only behind Alabama’s current run of 15 straight years and Bobby Bowden’s Florida State teams, who did it 14 straight years (1987-2000).   

“You have new recruits come in. Those dynamics are always changing,” Swinney said. “That is why you have to have some order, structure, and routine. Things that you can really hang your hat on year in and year out foundationally, which we have and that is why we have been so successful.

“But you start over every year regardless. Probably for media and fans it is probably something new to talk about I guess, but for me it is just a starting over period every single year.”

Clemson will start the new season on Labor Day Night (Sept. 4) at Duke.


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