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Clemson OC Tony Elliott out of Sugar Bowl with Covid-19

Quarterback coach Brandon Streeter will handle the play calling duties against the Buckeyes

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Media Day Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In news that you never want to hear, Clemson will be without Offensive Coordinator Tony Elliott for Friday night’s playoff game against Ohio State. Elliot, who’s name has been mentioned for several head coaching vacancies in college football, tested positive for Covid-19.

Taking over Offensive Coordinator duties for the Tigers is passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter. Streeter, a former signal caller for the Tigers, graduated in Clemson in 1999 before having a one season stint with the Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League. Streeter coached QBs and RBs at Charleston Southern in the 2000’s before returning as a grad assistant at Clemson under Tommy Bowden. Streeter has offensive coordinator experience having been OC at Liberty from 2009-2011 and Richmond from 2012-2014. Streeter’s 2013 Richmond squad finished 7th in the nation in passing yards and set numerous school records. Streeter and Elliott have worked together for seven seasons.

Elliott’s duties as running backs coach will be handled by all time Clemson great CJ Spiller. A 2007 graduate of Clemson, Spiller returned as a grad assistant in 2020. Spiller was a 2010 first round pick for the Buffalo Bills and played for 8 seasons in the NFL. Spiller is a member of Clemson’s “Ring of Honor.”

If Clemson wins on Friday, there has been no news on whether Elliot will be able to return for the National Championship. Depending on when the positive test was, it should be possible for Elliot to return for the January 11th game. Clemson has dealt with Covid related absences this year, most famously Trevor Lawrence missing two games in the middle of the season, but this appears to be the first coaching related absence. As has been seen with other schools, such as Alabama, the NCAA does not allow for a coach to virtually coach from a remote location, so Elliot will have to remain a spectator Friday night.

The news of Elliot’s positive comes less than a day after ESPN commentator Kirk Herbstreit announced that he tested positive for the virus. Herbstreit will be working on ESPN College Gameday and call the Clemson-Ohio State game remotely from his home in Nashville. Herbstreit is the father of Clemson wide receivers Tye and Jake Herbstreit. There has been no announcement regarding the twins testing positive nor having contact over Christmas with their father, so expect both to dress for Friday night.

Clemson Tight Ends Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Danny Pearman also did not make the trip Wednesday. Pearman is reportedly awaiting a result of a Covid test, but the program is optimistic he will be able to join the team in New Orleans by Friday evening.