Learning from Dad's experiences

CLEMSON — What makes things fun for Clemson assistant coach Jeff Scott these days is the fact he gets the opportunity to coach alongside his father — offensive guards and centers coach Brad Scott.

The Tigers' young wide receivers coach started last season as a graduate assistant before taking over for Dabo Swinney at mid-season when Swinney was named interim head coach. Jeff did such a good job with the receivers during that time, Swinney decided to keep him on, and now he is working with his dad on the offensive staff.

"I think the neatest thing about it — is not even talked about," Jeff said. "That just tells me the coaching staff and the players accept me for my own reasons and coaching background and maybe what I have to offer here.

"Obviously it's a great opportunity and experience. Not only to get the opportunity to play for my dad when I was playing here, but now I get the opportunity to coach with him. It is something that we enjoy, but on a daily bases it is not something that is brought up.

"I interact with him in the same way that I interact with all of our coaches."

In a way, Jeff has been doing that with his father ever since he was five when Brad was the offensive line coach at Florida State. Every day after school, he would run to the practice fields to be around his dad and the players.

When Brad took the head job at South Carolina in 1994, he did the same thing. He was always around his dad and was always soaking up as much knowledge as possible.

And though 1998 wasn't the most pleasant experience of his young life to live through, Jeff learned a whole lot on how to handle things when his dad got fired as the Gamecocks head coach.

"A lot of people will say that I have been warned about going into this profession," Jeff said. "I think that I really got to see two sides of it. The first 12 years I was at Florida State when Florida State just made that unbelievable run.

"So I have been able to see it from the highest level, and then when we went to South Carolina. That first year he had success there and I was able to see that and then over the next four years to see how difficult it is. I think I have seen both sides of the dial."

Jeff said his dad's experiences, even the ones here at Clemson, have given him an inside knowledge of the game most young coaches at this level, or any level for that matter, don't have.

"I think it has helped give me a better perspective on the profession and the understanding that ultimately it comes down to wins and losses," he said. "Each person has their own beliefs and foundation of how they want to coach and how they want to do things, but in the end it ultimately comes down to wins and losses.

"One thing I've learned is that you can work really hard and do a good job, but at the end of the day there is a little bit of luck factor in there too."

Which he says is why he is at Clemson today.

"You can look at our games last year, and how many close games late in the year like Boston College were there? That could make a huge difference for everyone on this staff," Jeff said. "If C.J. Spiller does not make that great kickoff to get us in position to score at Boston College, we might not win that game and I'm probably not sitting here.

"So your whole coaching life and profession could take a 10-year head start or could go back the other way."

Instead Jeff's has gone pretty much in the same direction as his father's since the day he was old enough to pick up a football.

"Honestly, when I was coaching in high school, I think he was hoping that I would enjoy it enough to stay in it," Jeff said. "But growing up in the background that I had, there was nothing I could do but jump right in the middle of it and take my chance.

"It has given me a good perspective of college football and the business. All of these coaches that we have here have had some great experiences and they also have had some tough experiences and I think for the most part everybody in this profession has been hired at a great job and has also been fired at times. The biggest thing is you have to coach the way that you have been coaching and do what you believe in doing and let everything else take care of itself."

When Jeff and Brad are in the Clemson football offices these days, it's all about business. He says no one really thinks about the two of them being father and son. It's just all about work and all about making the Clemson football program the ACC's best.

"We really enjoy doing things together whenever we are not here at football. Like in the summer, we will go golfing and do those sorts of things," Jeff said. "He has really given me a lot of space. A lot of people will ask me do you go to your dad for advice. Obviously there are those times that maybe if something is big that I have a question about or I have to make a decision on then I might give him a call.

"But for the most part, and growing up around him, I think that those 15 to 18 years there between 5 years old and 23, I learned a lot from him there. I really spend more time talking to Coach (Kevin) Steele, Coach (Dan) Brooks, Billy Napier and Coach (Charlie) Harbison.

"Those guys have a wealth of knowledge and have been doing this for a long time and have been successful. I really want to learn from those guys and learn from those experiences because I have been around my dad his whole life so I have seen that so now I want to learn from some of the other coaches."

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