Clemson officially announced several staffing changes for the football team today. None of these moves are a surprise, but the official announcement was delayed until after the moves were approved during today’s Board of Trustees meeting.
On the offense, Brandon Streeter has been named the new Offensive Coordinator. This has been the plan most followers expected for the last several years. Streeter has several years of experience as an OC with Liberty and Richmond from prior coaching stops to go with his 7 years here at Clemson as the QB coach. To go along with Streeter’s promotion, offensive analyst Kyle Richardson has been promoted and named the new TE coach. Richardson has also been the Director of High School Relations in addition to his other analyst duties.
Heading to the other side of the ball, Dabo Swinney has decided to go the co-DC route by naming Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn the co-DCs. Goodwin will also take over the linebackers with this promotion and Conn will continue to coach the safeties. In some good news it does sound like Mike Reed will be staying at Clemson and he adds the title of Special Teams Coordinator to his role of coaching the cornerbacks. Todd Bates has also been given a raise in this latest round of staffing moves, never a bad thing.
So let’s start with the good here. We’ve heard a lot of good things about Wes Goodwin. It sounds like the players are a big fan of him personally as well what he brings to the table as a coach. While he has never called plays before he has had a lot of rave reviews in the coaching community for his ability to break down film. There are also some good nuggets on various pay sites about what he has brought to Clemson over his 10 years at Clemson. I recommend checking those sites out to help put your mind at ease.
On offense, while many were hoping for some new blood it is worth noting Streeter has experience as an OC. Obviously how his former stops mesh with his time at Clemson is an unknown, but this is a bit different from promoting a complete newbie into the roll. The biggest question is going to be what, if any, stamp Streeter puts on this offense. I wouldn’t expect drastic changes from what we’ve seen over the last 7 years, but Streeter should be able to add something to what was a fairly stale offense.
I will also say the promotion of Richardson intrigues me. Before Clemson he was a HS coach over at Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, SC. He had an excellent record there including 2 state titles over 5 seasons. Given the lack of production out of the TE role I’m interested to see what he does to help improve that group.
So the downside, let’s start with the defense. At the end of the day we are replacing Brent Venables. Unless Goodwin or Conn is some sort of hidden diamond, and a big one at that, this is going to be a drop off. The big question is going to be how Goodwin and Conn work together to call plays and how much of the sign decoding we see remain at Clemson. If this staff is still able to figure out what plays are being run ahead of time I suspect things will still go well.
The general issue I also have is the lack of new blood. Every promotion here is the for someone who has been at Clemson for at least 6 years. All of these guys are ingrained in what Clemson does and how the operate. My biggest concern is how this entire staff is going to adapt to different ways of running an offense, defense, and recruiting. In my mind that is best done by bringing in some outside perspective that meshes well with the rest of the staff. Yes, to some degree that can happen with analysts, but I’m not sure it carries the same weight.
And of course the other elephant is recruiting. Things are not looking great for Clemson with the class of 2022. Given that and the reluctance to embrace the Transfer Portal the ability of these caoches to step up on the recruiting trail to add a few members to the class of 2022 and build an excellent class of 2023 is critical. Even if all the on field things are a drop off recruiting has to stay strong.