Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told everyone there would be serious evaluations on the coaching staff after a dismal 6-6 regular season record.
Just days after a horrible showing in a 31-26 loss to the South Florida Bulls in the Meinke Car Care Bowl, Swinney began his evaluations immediately, starting with the removal of running backs/special teams coach Andre Powell and offensive coordinator Billy Napier.
After experiencing Clemson's first losing season in over 10 years, many can say that Dabo Swinney is truly on the hot seat as Clemson head coach.
First, the firing of Andre Powell came for several possible reasons. First, the struggle on special teams in the kicking game, which never really improved over the last two years. Another factor that people never really considered is the development of Clemson's running backs behind Ellington.
Harper, while showing flashes, hasn't panned out very well with all of the hype that followed him out of high school, which has resulted in Ellington becoming the true feature back of the Clemson offense. Lack of depth behind Harper was shown to be unreliable, as no other running backs were used, and Powell is partly responsible for which backs go into the game.
Lack of running back development is also a part of what led to his release as running backs and special teams coach.
Did Dabo Swinney make the right coaching move in firing Powell and Napier?
Next comes one of the three most important parts of a coaching staff: the offensive coordinator.
Napier was especially young to be a coordinator at age thirty, and was a questionable hire last year for the Tigers. After serving up a 9-4 campaign in his first season, his offense in 2010 would suffer a below average performance in 2010, especially at the quarterback and wide receiver positions.
His lack of success in 2010 was due to his predictability on offense. The play calling was conservative, and his offenses failed to develop any kind of identity at any point during the season, even when Andre Ellington was healthy. His tendencies were easy to read, as noted in the Boston College game, the players and personnel knew if the play was under center, it was a run; if it was in the shotgun, it was a pass.
Those tendencies coupled with conservative play calling equaled the dismal, below average offense that would end up with a losing record of 6-7.
Now, a national search begins for the new running backs/special teams coach, and the new offensive coordinator for the Clemson Tigers.