Clemson fans are not accustomed to other schools coming into their back yard and poaching their coaches, but that is exactly what is happening.
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables confirmed on the radio at the annual Broyles Award Dinner that, while he has not had contact, his representatives have been in contact with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks about their vacant head-coaching position.
When asked by radio host Bo Mattingly whether rumors of him having at least some interest in the job formerly held by Bret Bielema are true, he said, “That’s a tough thing to answer. I have not spoken to anybody, but my representatives have and I’ll leave it at that.”
The defensive coordinator, who has been with head coach Dabo Swinney since 2012, has had his name mentioned on an annual basis as various coaching jobs open each year.
Only a week ago, Venables was asked before the Tigers’ ACC Championship Game if he had heard anything about his name being mentioned as a candidate at Mississippi State, which recently filled its head coaching position with Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead -- and the Arkansas job.
"I’ve got a great job, and I’ve said that many, many times,” Venables said. “I’m very thankful and grateful for that. We’re in a great position, so why would I be worried about what’s on the other side of the fence? I’ve always felt that way. If people have interest, that’s part of (coaching), and you either decide to listen or not.
"Right now, we’ve got a tremendous opportunity this week playing for a championship and my loyalty is to here and our players.”
Even with his “representatives” having spoken with the Razorbacks regarding their vacancy, Venables made it clear that his loyalties are with Swinney and the Tigers.
“I’ve had opportunities to be a head coach throughout my career and as recently as last week, but my moral compass has told me to be loyal to where I am,” Venables said.
Elliott candidate at UCF
Venables is not the only Tiger coach that may be in the running for a bigger job. Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has had his name mentioned by many people as a candidate for the University of Central Florida job vacated by Scott Frost last week. Frost is returning to his alma mater Nebraska to become head coach.
However, it was announced Tuesday morning that UCF had hired former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel — ensuring that for the time being, Elliott will remain a Clemson Tiger.
In his three seasons since taking over for Chad Morris, Elliott has helped lead the Tigers to an 82-14 record, three ACC championships, three College Football Playoff appearances, two national championship game appearances and one national championship.
Elliott has also helped lead the Tigers to a No. 1 ranking in this year’s College Football Playoff.
Scott candidate at South Alabama
Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott joins the list of Clemson coaches who are candidates at other schools, as the former Tiger receiver’s name has been mentioned at the University of South Alabama.
According to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic, Scott is expected to interview for the Jaguars head coaching position.