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Clemson Football

In the Mix: Clemson hopes addition of Garrett Riley will push Tigers back into CFP

June 27, 2023
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As the college football season draws near, the Clemson Tigers find themselves at a crucial juncture. With their eyes set on the College Football Playoff, head coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers face the challenge of maintaining their prominence in a landscape dominated by perennial powerhouses like Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State.

With the appointment of new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, Clemson is poised to make a strong push towards the coveted CFP berth and add to their illustrious playoff history and national titles. Swinney noted just after hiring Riley that he felt it was the right time with Cade Klubnik taking over at quarterback.

“As I evaluated where we are, I thought it was the right time, with a new quarterback coming in and taking the reins, it was the right opportunity to hire Garrett,” Swinney noted.

Under the guidance of Swinney, Clemson has cemented its status as a football powerhouse. With six consecutive playoff appearances from 2015 to 2020, the Tigers have consistently been in the national championship conversation. Clemson's winning culture, strong recruiting efforts, and disciplined execution on the field have resulted in two national titles (2016, 2018) and multiple conference championships-- but the pressure is cranking up as the Tigers have been blocked out of the CFP the past two years.

"Garrett is a rising star in the coaching profession," Swinney said. "He's a brilliant offensive mind with a great track record of success.”

This season brings a new face to the staff-- and more importantly, a fresh flavor to Clemson's offense as Riley takes over after an impressive run at TCU, leading the Horned Frogs offense into the national championship game. Riley was also named the Broyles Award winner as the top assistant coach in college football in 2022.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the Clemson family. This is a special place with a rich tradition of winning, Riley said in April. “I'm looking forward to working with Coach Swinney and the rest of the staff to help build on that tradition.”

Known for his innovative play-calling and ability to adapt to opponents' defenses, Riley's arrival injects energy into the Tigers' offensive game plan. With an arsenal of talented players at his disposal, Riley's offensive scheme aims to challenge opponents and maximize Clemson's scoring potential.

“We’re going to be violent and fast-- it starts there,” Riley noted. ”Whether we are in the run game or passing game-- we are going to attack.”

“We’re going to be violent and fast-- it starts there,” Riley noted. ”Whether we are in the run game or passing game-- we are going to attack.”

To reach the College Football Playoff, Clemson must keep pace with perennial contenders outside of the ACC, like Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State. These three programs have established themselves as the benchmark for success in recent years, consistently appearing in the CFP and securing national titles. 

Since the Tigers last made the playoffs, Georgia has emerged as a dominant force, boasting a formidable defense and an explosive offense the past two seasons. The Bulldogs have won back-to-back championships, and from this observer’s perspective, given their proximity to Tiger Town, Georgia has become the biggest threat to Swinney’s successful run.

Adding Riley as OC after just one season with Brandon Streeter in the role highlights the significance of the landscape shift felt in the football offices in Clemson.

“The best is always yet to come, and I can’t wait to work with our group to hopefully see that message come to fruition in Death Valley and beyond this fall,” Riley said when he was hired.

While the Tigers don’t measure the success of their program internally by wins and losses, Swinney isn’t naive to what is expected on the gridiron, and with the addition of Riley as the new offensive coordinator, Clemson has the necessary tools to make a run at the College Football Playoff-- and perhaps the ultimate prize—an opportunity to compete for another national championship.

Discussion from...

In the Mix: Clemson hopes addition of Garrett Riley will push Tigers back into CFP

3,434 Views | 8 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by Tigers Rise
Tigers Rise
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Garrett's previous work at SMU and TCU proved that he his the ability to develop high-powered offenses and maximize the potential of his players.

I wasn't overly impressed with the spring game, but we had some moments. It will be interesting to watch his side of the ball develop this year.
dralexa
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Fresh offense is what I'm most excited about.

When Chad Morris arrived things felt exciting and while we've had a great run it just felt stale. It certainly could be tracked back to D.J. at QB, but Riley's approach will introduce new concepts, plays, and formations that should elevate Clemson's offensive game. I'm here for it.


TonyTiger
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I just wonder how long Garrett will be at Clemson. I'd think with a great season on offense he could be one-and-done.

My hope is that we have him for at least three years. What do y'all think?
Lawton Swann
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Staff
TonyTiger said:

I just wonder how long Garrett will be at Clemson. I'd think with a great season on offense he could be one-and-done.

My hope is that we have him for at least three years. What do y'all think?
I think that's a great question. My hope is that Clemson can get 3-4 years with Riley as the OC. I think his star is too bright to be there much longer than that. It doesn't help that his brother has had a lot of success as well.
lukewinstel
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Staff
I think Riley does two years at Clemson. Has a good year in 2023 but maybe not quite big enough to outright get a P5 head coach job. But I think after 2024 it will be hard to keep him after another strong campaign.
Barnyard Bird
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I welcome an updated offense. Felt stale to be honest.
tigerstyle8
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Tigers Rise said:

I wasn't overly impressed with the spring game, but we had some moments. It will be interesting to watch his side of the ball develop this year.
I think it was just too soon in his tenure during the spring. Just my opinion.
Tigers Rise
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That's fair.
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