Dabo Swinney's reasons Garrett Riley is new Clemson football OC from TCU to Cade Klubnik
CLEMSON – Garrett Riley’s appeal to football coach Dabo Swinney was underscored at every turn Wednesday when Swinney formally introduced his new offensive coordinator at Clemson’s new Media Center.
“I think he’s one of the bright offensive minds in the game,” Swinney said.
That in itself was likely enough to justify Swinney’s firing of longtime assistant Brandon Streeter and prompt his pursuit of Riley, who last season produced a prolific offense at TCU that carried the Horned Frogs all the way to the College Football Playoff championship game.
Perhaps more than anything, that helped convinced Swinney that Riley was the way to go.
“I was just very impressed with what he did at SMU, in taking the reins there,” Swinney said. “And then to walk into TCU, with basically the same guys back, and they went from five wins to playing in the national championship.”
Here are more reasons why Swinney is excited about his new offensive coordinator:
Timing was right to hire Riley
Clemson’s offense lagged in the 2022 season, ranking 66th nationally in plays of 20 yards or more, and Swinney was quick in his attempt to remedy the situation.
“As I evaluated where we are I thought it was the right time, with a new quarterback (Cade Klubnik) coming in and taking the reins, it was the right opportunity to hire Garrett,” Swinney said. “It was great timing to bring him on board.”
Riley was simply a ‘great fit’
“I think he’s a great fit for Clemson, I think he’s a great fit for me, a great fit for our personnel,” Swinney said. “Philosophy wise we really match up.”
And Swinney is convinced that Riley will benefit from being in the Clemson camp.
“I have no doubt he’s going to make us better offensively and I think we can help him grow and continue to mature and get better as well as he navigates his career,” Swinney said. “There will be certain things that he’s going to learn here that are going to help him.”
Riley brings a fresh perspective
“It starts with Garrett being comfortable – what he wants to keep, what he wants to change,” Swinney said. “He’s going to bring a whole fresh way of doing certain things.”
That is likely to be embraced by an offense that appeared stagnant and unimaginative a good bit of the time last season.
“His big task coming up in February will be studying and learning the personnel,” Swinney said. “We’ve got a really good roster, a really talented roster. That’ll be a lot of fun to learn different things and have a different approach.”
Riley’s a strong communicator
Riley hit the ground running, traveling to some unfamiliar parts of the country and meeting recruits.
“I knew he was going to be a natural in dealing with our guys here and connecting with recruits,” Swinney said. “You don’t have the type of success that he’s had if you’re not a good communicator.”
Swinney even discussed Riley with Klubnik, who was recruited by Riley while Riley was at SMU and TCU, and incoming quarterback Chris Vizzina, with both giving a thumbs up.
“That’s a tough change for them, but they were super excited about the opportunity with Garrett,” Swinney said. “Obviously Cade already had a little bit of a relationship there and CV knew of him.”
Riley will shore up the passing game
Clemson had 24 passing touchdowns in 2022; TCU had 33. Clemson had one receiver with at least 530 yards; TCU had three.
In short, Swinney wants more production in the passing game.
“We’ve got to get better passing the ball, period,” Swinney said. “We’ve got a really great foundation from a run standpoint, but we’ve got to get better throwing and catching and I think he’s really going to help us there.”
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Why Dabo Swinney said he hired Garrett Riley as Clemson football OC