Clemson was fast last season.
Clemson finished second in the nation in offensive plays (1,055), trailing only Houston.
This spring, Clemson is operating at an even faster pace.
Clemson ran 100 plays in 80 minutes in Monday’s scrimmage with returning players such as quarterback Tajh Boyd demonstrating a better grasp of the offense and the desired tempo in the second spring under offensive coordinator Chad Morris.
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“We are moving faster than we have ever moved,” Boyd said. “That’s what we have to have. This offense is based off of tempo — speed, speed, speed. We’re flying.
“Coach (Morris) said it is fast, so I know it is fast.”
Clemson is deep at the receiver position, which should help the Tigers rotate in fresh players this fall. Boyd said he is also in the best shape of his college career as he prepares for his fourth fall on campus.
Venables knows tempo challenge
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has ample experience defending up-tempo offenses in the Big 12, where fast-paced spread offenses are widespread.
“I think that’s the way a lot of teams play, so you have to adapt to it,” Venables said. “It still comes down to fundamentals, technique and playing with leverage. … (Spread offenses) are en vogue right now, so you have to be able to handle that. If you can show the capacity to handle the tempo, you’ve taken away a huge weapon for the offense.”
Living on the edge
Much of Venables’ early attention has been on developing pass rushers. Clemson has lost a double-digit sack producer in each of the last two years in Da’Quan Bowers and Andre Branch. Clemson loses four players who contributed 19 of its 24 tackles for loss last season.
“In this day and age, you need guys who can rush the passer and set the edge, and a year from now Malliciah Goodman (will graduate), so it’s good to have an opportunity to develop those guys quickly because they need to step up,” Venables said of his sophomore-laden line. “We’ll probably have to rely on some of these other guys coming in (this summer) because we are not very deep there.”
He said it
Boyd on the goal line offense: “The biggest area of concern is just being tough on that goal line. It’s more mental than physical. Coach is challenging us, and I feel like it’s a challenge to me as a leader.”