Brent Venables, the humane society, and a bunch of mutts named Roy

by - Senior Writer -
Brent Venables is the thoroughbred of the Clemson coaching staff
Brent Venables is the thoroughbred of the Clemson coaching staff

Brent Venables and a bunch of mutts named Roy.

It isn’t much of a secret that one of the keys to Clemson’s football success is staff stability. Unlike a lot of head coaches across the country, Dabo Swinney doesn’t have to scour the nation each season for assistant coaches, and that consistency is a big part of how the Tigers have been in the College Football Playoff four consecutive seasons and won two National Championships.

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables has passed up numerous chances to go elsewhere and has been in Clemson since 2012.

Co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott (set to begin his ninth season on staff) and Jeff Scott (set to start his 12th season) have worked their way up the proverbial ladder. Tight ends coach Danny Pearman has been around for 11 years (heading for 12), while offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has been around for eight years (soon to be nine years). Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter is the new kid on the block and he’s been around since December of 2014.

Cornerbacks coach Mike Reed has been on staff since 2013, while safeties coach Mickey Conn, defensive line coaches Todd Bates and Lemanski Hall have all been added in the last three seasons. Hall was added as a 10th full-time member of the coaching staff a year ago.

Swinney says a head coach is only as good as the people he hires, and he likes to hire people he knows.

“As you know, we are only as good as the people around us. It determines your enjoyment of what you do when you work with good people,” Swinney said. “I have 19 former players on my staff, whether they are administrative, GA's, full-time coaches, strength and conditioning or in our player development. I have great relationships with all of them.

“That is a big part is the relationships. They have been with me for a long time and I coached several of them. And those that I didn't, I had some type of relationship with them.”

During one of the College Football Playoff ranking unveilings last season, Swinney joked that the Tigers and the rest of the country were on the “ROY bus” or “Rest of Y’all bus” behind the University of Alabama. The joke went viral, but Swinney used the slogan as a means to motivate his team and his coaches.

“I would say this - this was kind of a joke all year long and we took it and ran with it - the rhetoric all year long was that Alabama was one, two, and three and then there was everybody else at four and beyond. So I took that and I was like, ok,” Swinney said. “Because I felt like we had the best team. I told our guys early on that we had the best team. And I said we were on the ROY bus. It's Alabama and then everybody else.”

Swinney then took it a step further and said he has a staff filled with a bunch of mutts named Roy, the kind of dogs the local humane society is glad to see adopted.

“And I will be honest with you, I have a bunch of Roys on my staff. I would say Brent Venables is the thoroughbred,” Swinney said. “He is the guy that, if you are going to buy a dog and you want the thoroughbred you have to pay a little extra. And then I have a bunch of mutts. That is the best way I can describe those guys. That is the way I am. We are the ones you go to the humane society to pick up and everybody is just happy that you came and got them.

“If you look at my staff, that is kind of who we are. I have guys who will be great head coaches, but no one has really given them the opportunity. I think I have hired guys that fit me and guys that have been very motivated to be successful. We have fun together and we like each other and we have relationships in place. It's a lot of fun. They all know me and they know the expectations and the philosophy and most importantly they believe in our philosophy.”

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