Clemson University

FSU job rumors: How Jeff Scott handles Noles noise as Clemson preps for NC State

Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott met with the media Monday to preview Saturday’s game at N.C. State. Most of the talk was about Scott being mentioned as a potential candidate for the Florida State head coaching job.

FSU fired Willie Taggart Sunday afternoon, and Scott’s name was immediately thrown around as a potential candidate as The Tampa Bay Times, 247Sports and others mentioned Scott as a name to watch.

The timing isn’t great for Clemson or Scott as the fourth-ranked Tigers (9-0, 6-0) prepare to face ACC foe North Carolina State (4-4, 1-3) in Raleigh this weekend.

Clemson’s three lead assistants Scott, Brent Venables and Tony Elliott, are often linked to head coaching vacancies — and they’re all on the various lists published in the wake of Taggart’s departure. The difference here is that this opening comes with three regular season games to go.

“The success that we’ve had here at Clemson, it’s natural for some of our coaches’ names to be put out there,” Scott said. “But really it goes back to what we talk to our players about all the time, that this is the most important time of the year, that we have great focus. I think our success has come because our players and coaches have done a great job at staying focused on the task at hand.”

Scott, who played at Clemson, has been on staff with the Tigers since 2008. He spent time as the receivers coach and recruiting coordinator before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach prior to the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Scott is known as one of the top recruiters in the country, and he helped the Tigers win two of the past three national championships.

“I’ve heard it said that you should be so busy being great at doing your job and the success, and those things will find you,” Scott said. “I think that’s what I’ve seen in my own career. I’ve never been one to be on the internet out there trying to chase rumors or trying to go chase a job.”

Scott has ties to Florida State, as he grew up around the program. His father, Brad Scott, coached as an assistant at FSU from 1983-1993, before becoming the head coach at South Carolina.

Jeff Scott declined to get into the specifics of what the FSU program means to him.

“I usually keep those comments to when we’re playing Florida State,” Scott said. “There’s no doubt that was a special time in our life for my dad and our family growing up there. I don’t think it’s worth me going on any further than that right now.”

This isn’t the first time Scott’s name has been mentioned as a head coaching candidate.

Scott has admitted in the past that he has been pursued for head coaching positions, and he explained Monday how he handles that process.

“I really just go — when it gets serious — go and take that to coach Swinney and let him know what’s going on, kind of get his advice and opinions and then kind of handle it from there. Just kind of take it as it comes,” Scott said. “But still remembering what the most important things are at that time and where the focus should be. But it’s not an easy timing for anybody. It’s probably not an easy timing for schools that are making the change and definitely not easy for the coaches that are all out coaching wanting to give their best for their players at the most important time of the year.”

As for what kind of job it might take for Scott to leave?

“All I know is I have not seen that yet,” Scott said. “That’s what I’ll say. It’s kind of like coach Swinney talks about, playing with great effort and playing with the eye of the Tiger — you know it when you see it and you know it when you don’t. And for me being a Christian, Jeremiah 29:11 says that the Lord has our path planned out. So for me, that takes away a lot of anxiety or worry about the future or what may or may not come and really just being great today.”

Venables declined comment Monday when asked about the FSU opening.

“I’m just getting ready for N.C. State, so there’s nothing to handle, to be honest with you,” he said.

NEXT

Who: No. 4 Clemson (9-0, 6-0) at N.C. State 4-4 (1-3)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Raleigh, N.C.

TV: ABC

Line: Clemson by 30.5

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Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The State.com
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