CLEMSON — Jeff Scott must have known the question was coming. Monday morning, less than 24 hours after Florida State fired coach Willie Taggart, Scott was asked what would constitute the right move for him.
"Oh, gosh," Scott whispered under his breath, sitting up in his chair, then leaning forward. He beamed. "All I know is I haven't seen that yet."
In the wake of Taggart's firing, Scott, Clemson's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, was one of several coaches whose name was mentioned on social media as possible replacements for the Seminoles. That group also included Tony Elliott, the Tigers' other co-offensive coordinator and the team's running backs coach, and defensive coordinator Brent Venables.
Venables was terse when asked about the Seminoles' opening: "Just getting ready for N.C. State, so there's nothing to handle, to be honest."
Elliott wasn't scheduled to address the media Monday, but Scott, whose father Brad was a Florida State assistant for a decade, spoke expansively on the matter.
The big takeaway? Scott's focus now is on Clemson.
"As a coach, you always want to give your players the best plan and the best opportunity for them to be successful," he said. "To allow yourself to look out and get distracted by things you can't control really takes from that."
Scott played wide receiver at Clemson from 2000-02, then took over the Blythewood High program in 2006. After winning the state championship in first season, Scott felt the pull to move into the college ranks.
His father urged against making the move too quickly, citing the transient life many college coaches lead. Brad, though, mostly avoided that fate. He started at Florida State as a graduate assistant in 1983 and stayed there until 1993, by which point he had been promoted to offensive coordinator. Much of Scott's childhood was in Tallahassee, and it was a "special time," he said.
Brad finally uprooted the family to take the head job at South Carolina in 1994. He finished his career with an 11-year stint at Clemson, and before he left in 2011, his son joined the staff as wide receivers coach in 2008.
Scott has been a key figure in helping to implement coach Dabo Swinney's culture and was promoted to his current post in 2015.
He's in no rush to leave. His wife attended Clemson and his 4-year-old daughter has grown up inside the program.
"I really just want to pause this moment in time," Scott said, pretending to hold a remote. "Tony (Elliott) and I talk about it all the time, like, how long can we kind of keep what we have right here? Because it's very special."
Scott admitted he does desire to move up and run a program of his own. But he's been patient. Now in his 12th year at Clemson, he said that when discussions about a move in the past have gotten serious, he's gone to Swinney in search of advice.
The right situation hasn't come yet.
"I can look back to my career at this point, and a lot of the opportunities I've had were really not from things I personally created, (but) from being at the right place at the right time," Scott said.
This isn't the first time Scott, Elliott or Venables' names have popped up amid coaching vacancies. The trio has helped Swinney transform Clemson into a national powerhouse, winning two of the last three national championships, and have sent several players to the NFL.
Scott and Elliott's former players include Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, among others.
Scott, for what it's worth, is not focused on parlaying his resume into a bigger opportunity. Not yet, at least. After he learned of Taggart's firing, he said he thought first of what happens to a coach's family in such a situation.
Brad's lone head coaching gig, with the Gamecocks, ended abruptly when he was fired in 1998, but he landed on his feet. He found work at Clemson.