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Monday, January 3, 2011
Swinney's next hire a big one

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Clemson's offense was less than impressive this year, but there was enough talent on the roster to make it better than that -- even without injured running back Andre Ellington. One ACC assistant coach who played against the Tigers this year told me as much. Yes, the Tigers missed their playmakers of 2009, but Clemson recruits well enough that a losing season was avoidable.

You never like to see coaches get fired -- some of us tend to forget they've got families, too -- but at the end of the day it's a business, and Clemson's offense wasn't generating any profit. At some point, somebody has to be held accountable, and coach Dabo Swinney did what he had to do to make sure it wasn't him -- this year.

Swinney fired offensive coordinator Billy Napier and running backs coach Andre Powell, but the margin for error in the hire of a new coordinator will be slim. Swinney needs a veteran he can hand the offense over to; one who shares the same philosophies, one who can have immediate success. But if the Tigers suffer another losing season, the next person most likely to be held accountable in this business model will be Swinney.