When No. 2 Clemson takes on No. 3 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Friday in a College Football Playoff semifinal matchup, it will be without offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott. The school announced on Wednesday afternoon that Elliott would be unavailable for the game and did not travel with the team due to COVID-19 protocols, and shortly after arriving in New Orleans, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney confirmed to ESPN that Elliott had tested positive.
"Just unfortunate that he's out. We love Tony. The good news is he's doing great," Swinney said. "He doesn't have any symptoms or anything like that. So wish he was with us but he'll be with us in spirit."
Swinney also confirmed that QB coach and passing game coordinator Brandon Streeter will be overtaking the play-calling duties in Elliott's absence.
Elliott serves as the primary play-caller for a Tigers offense that is third nationally with 44.9 points per game, and he's earned the respect as one of the finest offensive minds in the game. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the presumed No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is also one of four Heisman Trophy finalists. Running back Travis Etienne will leave the program as the ACC's all-time leading rusher.
A longtime assistant for the Tigers under Dabo Swinney, Elliott was the 2017 Broyles Award winner for top assistant coach in college football. Because of Clemson's on-field success, he's also started to garner interest from other jobs, and was briefly connected to the Auburn vacancy before Bryan Harsin was hired away from Boise State.
The Sugar Bowl semifinal between the Tigers and Buckeyes kicks off on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.