‘It’s my decision,’ Elliott says of UVA job, as a flight from Tuscaloosa looms
Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has left Charlottesville, and told a reporter back in South Carolina that he has a decision to make.
Ostensibly, the decision for Elliott is to take the Virginia job, maybe take the open Duke job, if it’s been offered, or to just stay home at Clemson, his alma mater.
Elliott, 42, has been the offensive play-caller at Clemson for seven seasons, and would be a solid hire.
Another potential development in the coaching search is a lot of reading tea leaves. The website FlightAware.com lists a flight scheduled to leave Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday morning, with the destination being Charlottesville.
It would be speculation to use this nugget to try to link Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to the job, but what the hell?
O’Brien, 52, had previously been a name of interest in the media for the Virginia Tech job, which doesn’t mean much, other than that his name had come up on reporters’ wish lists.
Full disclosure: he’s been at the top of my wish list since before the Virginia job was even open.
O’Brien was the coach tasked with rebuilding at Penn State after the Joe Paterno-Jerry Sandusky scandal, leading the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record in two seasons before taking the head coach job with the NFL’s Houston Texans.
O’Brien had a 52-48 record at Houston in parts of seven seasons before he was fired after an 0-4 start in 2020.
His Texans teams had winning records in five of his six seasons, and made four playoff appearances.
Before all that, O’Brien was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots for one season, and play-caller for three, during a five-year stint under Bill Belichick.
He also has extensive ACC and Mid-Atlantic ties from his college coaching days, spending 12 years at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke.
His Alabama offense just scored 41 points on then-#1 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game this past week, and ‘Bama QB Bryce Young is a favorite for the 2021 Heisman Trophy.
A lot of background on a guy who may be on a plane headed to Charlottesville early Friday morning.
It’s just as likely that it has absolutely nothing to do with Virginia Football, of course.
I hope to soon be reporting about his imminent hire, but I’m not holding my breath.
Story by Chris Graham