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Clemson Football

Jeff Scott talks handling being linked to other jobs, wants to hit 'pause' at Clemson

November 4, 2019
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Twenty-four hours ago, the first domino of the 2019 coaching carousel fell when Florida State decided to fire Willie Taggart after a brief two-year stint.

In 21 games with the Seminoles, Taggart went 9-12 and showed little signs of improvement. Now, another coaching search is set to begin for one of the top jobs in the country.

As “coaching search season” begins and administrators start their prowl for the right men for openings, many hot names and rumors will begin to float around. With Clemson’s recent success and now national pedigree, some of the first names that will come up during these searches are some of Dabo Swinney’s prized assistants.

Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, in particular, has ties to the Florida State program. When he was a kid, Scott’s father, Brad, spent 11 years as an assistant coach under Bobby Bowden from 1983-94, four of which were as an offensive coordinator. 

Jeff grew up on the sidelines in Tallahassee getting to watch his dad almost every day. It’s only natural to think the Seminoles would at least give the 2018 Broyles Award finalist a call.

Scott has been on Clemson’s staff since Swinney was hired in 2008. He went from graduate assistant to recruiting coordinator, then became wide receiver’s coach, then was named co-offensive coordinator before the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl. After fielding a few questions on the subject, Scott said Monday morning he wants to hit the pause button on what he is experiencing right now under Swinney at Clemson.

“To be honest, and for some people this may come as a surprise, but I really love being at Clemson right now, and with a four-year-old daughter and wife that went to Clemson, I really just want to pause this moment in time that we have right now,”
- Jeff Scott

“To be honest, and for some people this may come as a surprise, but I really love being at Clemson right now, and with a four-year-old daughter and wife that went to Clemson, I really just want to pause this moment in time that we have right now,” Scott said Monday morning. “Tony (Elliott) and I talk about it all the time, ‘how long can we really keep what we have right here?’ It’s very special and there’s no doubt if you have success in your profession, there’s a desire to move up and all that but that’s going to come at some point down the road if you continue to do well. 

“Really there’s a feeling that we have something really special that’s very rare. I look at this situation at Clemson very similarly to my dad’s situation at Florida State where there was great continuity among that coaching staff and the success that they had. To be able to come here every day and be around coach Swinney and be around this coaching staff and these players - we have 80 coaches kids and staff kids between one and 18. To have a daughter in this atmosphere, you couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The timing of the Florida State opening, or any opening that arises during the course of a season, is brutal. One party is trying to iron things out as quickly as possible. The other party - in this case, Clemson - is 9-0 and trying to focus on making a run at a fifth consecutive ACC championship and College Football Playoff berth.

It’s not just Jeff Scott that athletic directors could soon call upon. Tony Elliott, Scott’s counterpart, is one of the brightest offensive minds in the country and seems ripe for a head coach opportunity. The same goes for defensive coordinator Brent Venables, one of the best in the business at his craft.

Scott went into detail on how he and his co-workers handle when the opportunity may come knocking during the season.

“Probably just our experience the last four or five years with the success that we’ve had here at Clemson, it’s natural for some of our coach’s names to be put out there,” Scott noted. “But really it goes back to what we talk to our players about all the time: this is the most important time of the year that we have to have great focus. The players, they have a lot of things coming. You got seniors that are thinking about the NFL, juniors that are maybe thinking about decisions, whether they are going to leave or stay. There can be a lot of things this time of year. Coaches, maybe names getting tossed around a little bit. 

“Our success has come because our players and coaches have done a great job of staying focused on the task at hand. I’ve heard it said that, ‘you should be so busy being great at doing your job that success and those things will find you.’ That’s what I’ve seen in my own career. I’ve never been one to be on the internet out there chasing rumors or trying to go chase a job, but if you do a great job where you are, then you are going to have opportunities to move up. That’s what has happened to me here at Clemson... For us, it’s a compliment to our players, this program, the success that we have, that people would talk about our coaches, but I think we’ve done a great job of staying focused on really what matters at this moment.”

When it comes to what the protocol is for any interested parties who want to talk to reach out to Scott, he said there isn’t a standard set of rules that he has when talks may arise. The only constant: if things get serious, let Swinney know about it and seek his advice. The main focus will always be on his players and the task at hand.

Since Scott and Elliott have been promoted to co-offensive coordinators, Clemson is 65-4 with two national championships and three championship berths.

As far as what would constitute as a right move for Scott?

“All I know is I have not seen that yet,” Scott said with a smile. “Kind of like coach Swinney talks to our players about playing with great effort and playing the eye of the tiger. You know it when you see it and you know it when you don’t. For me, being a Christian, Jeremiah 29:11 says that the Lord kind of has our path planned out. For me, that takes away a lot of anxiety or really worry about the future and what may or may not come. Just being great today. I can look back on my career up to this point and a lot of the opportunities that I had are not through things that I personally created. It’s just about being at the right place and the right time. I have no doubt that the Lord’s hand has been a big part in my move to where I am at Clemson.”

Since Scott and Elliott have been promoted to co-offensive coordinators, Clemson is 65-4 with two national championships and three championship berths. 247Sports named Scott the ACC’s Recruiter of the Year in 2018 while Rivals has him listed as one of the top 25 recruiters in the country.

Even with all the success and accolades, Clemson has had with him on staff, Scott said he still feels like he has plenty left to prove as a coach. 

“I think about it every morning that I wake up and come into the office is that I’m still trying to prove to coach Swinney, to our staff, and to our players that I’m the best coach for my job that I have right now,” Scott added. “That’s really what my focus is. I think as a coach, you always want to give your players the best plan and best opportunity to be successful. To allow yourself to look out and get distracted by things that you can’t control really takes from that.”

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Jeff Scott talks handling being linked to other jobs, wants to hit 'pause' at Clemson

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