What Forced Swinney to Make OC Decision? ‘We Gotta Score’

Dabo Swinney opened his National Signing Day press conference with a tip of the cap to former Clemson offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter.

Swinney spoke publicly for the first time since firing the Tigers’ quarterback coach and primary playcaller and before introducing new OC Garrett Riley, who was hired the same day that Streeter was let go, the Clemson head coach said he appreciated what Streeter brought to the program. 

So what led to a decision to go away from an offensive style that Clemson had been running for a decade and brought them success, even though there was a drop-off the last two seasons? 

“Thirty-four first downs, 101 plays,” Swinney said, referencing the Tigers’ stats in a 31-14 loss to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. “We gotta score. That ultimately was one of those things that laid heavily on me after that ballgame. 

“And in the totality of where we were, I just felt like it was the best thing for these players, for this personnel and it was the best thing for Clemson. That’s kind of my litmus test for all decisions that I make. Once I kind of had peace in that, I didn’t want to make a change just to make a change.”

Swinney eventually settled on Riley, the winner of the 2022 Broyles Award, which goes to the top assistant coach in college football, and former OC at TCU.   

But it wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction. Swinney took his time. Following the bowl game loss, he did what he does at the end of every season. 

“Every year, I evaluate everything in our program,” Swinney said. “We start over, kind of tear it all down and then we build it back every single year.”

What that looked like, though, didn’t include Streeter, who only called plays for one season. The Tigers rebounded fairly well after a tumultuous offensive season in 2021 when they barely ranked inside the top 100 nationally in total offense. 

“That was the hard part,” Swinney said about the decision. “We really improved (in 2022). We had a rough year in ’21 for a lot of reasons, but we got better in a lot of areas. We had our best third down. We had our best red zone. I think we were 30th in scoring. But I just felt like this was the change that I felt was best for these players and best for Clemson.”

The Tigers averaged 33.2 points per game in 2022 and ranked 48th nationally in total offense, but there was a lack of explosiveness and a struggling passing game that left Swinney wanting more from this unit moving forward. And he didn’t feel like Clemson’s scoring attack was among the elite in college football like it was in previous seasons.

Streeter is a former Clemson quarterback himself who played with memorable toughness. There’s an award in the program named after him. He tutored first-round NFL draft picks Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence. He helped Clemson reach the College Football Playoff six consecutive times and win seven ACC titles. 

Moving off of Streeter and taking Clemson in a different direction, one with Riley and his power-heavy Air Raid attack, wasn’t cut and dry for Swinney. 

“I don’t make any decisions on a whim around here, ever,” Swinney said. “Every decision I make, I’m incredibly prayerful about it and I put in a lot of thought. And so the best thing was just being able to just get away for a few days and really process and start the evaluation process of our season and with a good perspective because we had a great year. But you know, I just felt like this was the change that was needed.”

Want to join in on the discussion? 100% FREE! Interact with fellow Tiger fans and hear directly from publisher Zach Lentz, deputy editor Brad Senkiw, recruiting analyst Jason Priester and staff writer Will Vandervort on any subject. Click here to become a member of the ALL CLEMSON message board community today!
Do us a HUGE favor and like, subscribe and follow us on social media:
►LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allclemson
►SUBSCRIBE: https://www.youtube.com/c/AllClemson
►FOLLOW All Clemson on Twitter:https://twitter.com/All_Clemson

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Leave a Reply

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
%d bloggers like this: