Game week has finally arrived! The long offseason brought many twists and turns, putting the landscape of college football in a completely new direction. Lincoln Riley is now coaching at USC, who along with UCLA is bolting for the Big Ten. Brent Venables and Tony Elliott have moved on to new roles at Oklahoma and Virginia, respectively. Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban argued about influencing recruiting with the new NIL laws (who could’ve seen that one coming?).
Despite all the changes in college football, one thing we know for certain is this: Clemson and Georgia Tech are going to kick off their seasons in Atlanta on Monday night.
With all the turmoil in the offseason surrounding the coaching changes, Clemson seems to have set itself up for success in 2022. Wes Goodwin recently went on record to say, “We want to right the ship and prove that 10-3 season was a one-off,” (Anna Adams on Twitter). Those words should make any nervous Clemson fan much more confident in their team. Listening to people around the program, this team is flat-out angry. They are upset with how last season went, and they have definitely heard the criticism, both warranted and unwarranted. If anyone has been paying attention to Clemson football in the Dabo Swinney era, they will tell you that the Tigers love to play with a chip on their shoulder stemming from people claiming they are not as good as they know they are.
It also seems as though the players are buying into their new coordinators just fine. Justin Mascoll said, “I feel like there wasn’t much change. Coach Wes is a great defensive coordinator. They’ve worked well with us,” (Clemson Sports on Twitter). Furthermore, Dabo Swinney recently revealed, “Brandon Streeter has turned down multiple SEC coordinator jobs and an NFL coordinator job last year. It was a “no-brainer” to promote him to OC, and Streeter is “over-prepared,” (Grace Raynor on Twitter). When Brent Venables left for Oklahoma and Wes Goodwin was promoted to DC, many fans had never heard his name, causing some to become worried about how good of a coordinator he can be. I can say first hand as a former college athlete (one summer at Furman... it still counts), that a coach that has the support of the locker room can make a difference. Based on Mascoll’s quote, it sounds like Goodwin has the locker room’s confidence. Also of note, I, and I am assuming many Clemson fans, had no idea how in-demand Brandon Streeter was. If a coach is offered a coordinator position in the NFL, they must be doing something right.
If you listen to the national media, many questions remain about Clemson’s newest coordinators. Some, such as Desmond Howard, project Clemson to struggle again this year. Every time I turn on the TV, all I hear is concern with Clemson and worrying about whether or not they can ever climb the mountain again. To those people, I say this: Clemson will be just fine. They’ve been doubted before and they’ll be doubted again. Keep doubting the Tigers, they love rolling with the ROY bus. Spot the ball.