Clemson's offense to be put to test against Virginia Tech

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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson first-year offensive coordinator Chad Morris has already heard more than he wanted about the Tigers’ last trip to Virginia Tech.

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is leading the ACC in touchdowns and yards and has the Tigers 4-0.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is leading the ACC in touchdowns and yards and has the Tigers 4-0.

The miserable trek to Blacksburg in 2006 ended in a 24-7 rout by the Hokies.

“That’s one of the things I keep hearing is how Clemson got hit in the mouth and ‘How quick can we get back to the bus?’ ” Morris said. “And that’s something I know coach (Dabo) Swinney’s going to talk to our players about.”

Clemson was one of the hottest teams in the country, winners of six in a row and No. 10 in the country. But the Hokies’ decisive win started a second-half slide for the Tigers.

Now 13th-ranked Clemson (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) faces a similar challenge this week – though hoping for a different result – when the Tigers play their first road game of this season at No. 11 Virginia Tech.

The Tigers have risen rapidly in the rankings with consecutive wins over defending national champion Auburn and ACC powerhouse Florida State and are off to their best start in four years.

Clemson has gained nearly 1,100 yards in the past two high-profile wins. Quarterback Tajh Boyd leads the ACC with 13 touchdowns and 1,255 yards. The first-year starter also leads the conference in total offense. Freshman receiver Sammy Watkins has caught 14 passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns the past two games.

Boyd and Watkins both repeated this week as ACC offensive back and receiver of the week.

“We know if we go out and do our jobs, it’s highly likely that we’ll be successful,” left tackle Phillip Price said.

Then again, this team hasn’t faced a test like Virginia Tech.

The Hokies (4-0) are known for their hard-nosed attitude, especially at home and with the defense of longtime coordinator Bud Foster. Virginia Tech defensive ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins combined for four sacks and 12 tackles last Saturday in a 30-10 victory at Marshall.

“We’ve had some fast guys in the past and when we’re fast coming off that edge, we’re usually pretty good,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said.

Beamer knows the Hokies haven’t faced a team yet this year like the Tigers.

“They have a lot of dynamic players and they are a dynamic football team,” Beamer said. “We understand that we have a really good football team coming in Saturday.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/27/11 - 07:41 am
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The most amazing thing in

The most amazing thing in football in these parts has been the emergence of Boyd and the Clemson offense under Morris. He totally runs the offense. Boyd went from a nobody to one of the most effective QB's in college football. I was totally shocked the way Clemson came out throwing the ball against Auburn even when they were down. They throw short and long with occasional QB runs. They must have the world of confidence in that offense. The schedule helped them learn the system with the two weak teams at the start. Now Boyd is confident and has improved with every game.

Notice that Dabo leaves Morris alone. It's Morris making the offensive decisions. When Dabo was getting on Boyd for mismanaging the time-outs, it was Morris who calmed things down and patted Boyd on the back.

Clemson could be the best team around even if they were trailing Wofford at the end of the first half.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 09/27/11 - 05:20 pm
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This offense still amazes me.

This offense still amazes me. Morris was coaching high school football two years ago. He went to Tulsa right from being a high school coach. He had learned the offense from another high school football coach. That was Gus Malzahn who ended up as Auburn's offensive coach.

What the offense does is run a hurry-up with lots of misdirection. The QB has to be able to run, also, like Cam Newton. They wear out defenses. The passing game is short and long. When you start to cheat on the short passes, they throw the bomb. The offensive turn-around at Clemson is astounding. They could go all the way.

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