Clemson University

Tigers implement new 'Wildcat' package

CLEMSON -- Clemson wasted no time showing off its variation of the Arkansas "Wildcat" package.

Tigers offensive coordinator Rob Spence mentioned he'd put in the package to take advantage of tailbacks James Davis and C.J. Spiller, much like the Razorbacks did with Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and Felix Jones last season. It made its first appearance on Clemson's second offensive play.

Davis switched in at quarterback and took a direct snap, faking to Spiller coming around on a reverse. Davis ran for 9 yards and the drive eventually ended in a punt.

Spiller also checked in for a play, handing off to Davis. That play only netted a yard after Davis was squashed at the line of scrimmage.

• GOOD CHOICE: Clemson coach Tommy Bowden mentioned in preseason camp that a handful of his first-year players would probably avoid redshirts. One of them was tight end Brian Linthicum.

The decision proved the right one when Linthicum caught the first touchdown of the season in the first quarter. On first-and-10 at the Florida State 11-yard-line, quarterback Cullen Harper took the snap and faked a handoff. The pressure came in and Harper faded back on contact, throwing across the middle. Linthicum leaped with a defender draped all over him and hauled it in, landing on his back just across the goal line.

• SAPP FLOWING: Defensive end Ricky Sapp couldn't wait to prove himself worthy of replacing All-American Gaines Adams.

Sapp charged through the Florida State offensive line on the game's second play, dropping Antone Smith for a 5-yard loss. Sapp seemed to foreshadow the rest of the first half, where the Seminoles' offensive line was absolutely dominated by Clemson's defensive line.

FSU only got one first down in the first half, on the game's first play. Quarterback Drew Weatherford scrambled for 22 yards but it was the only time the Seminoles got positive ball movement in the first two quarters.

• JIMMY JAM: Rock Hill native Jimmy Maners debuted as Clemson's starting punter and had an up-and-down first half. His first kick was a beauty, a 52-yard boot on the Tigers' first possession.

But then came an attempt in the second half, where Maners was summoned to punt at the Seminoles' 49. Roosevelt Lawson blocked the kick and Dekoda Watson recovered at the Clemson 20. Although the Tigers' defense only allowed 2 yards on the following three downs, FSU notched its first points when Gary Cismesia connected on a 36-yard field goal.

• WHITE OUT: Florida State took the field in all-white uniforms for just the fourth time over the past five seasons.

The Seminoles first broke out the all-whites on Sept. 17, 1988, at Clemson. The game became famous for the "Puntrooskie" play, propelling FSU to a 24-21 win.

The 'Noles also wore white at Notre Dame in 2003 (W, 37-0), at N.C. State in 2004 (W, 17-10) and at N.C. State last year (L, 24-20).

• CONGRATS: Clemson honored former All-American Jeff Davis before the game for his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Davis, a linebacker from 1978-81, was the ACC Player of the Year during his senior season and was also named the MVP of the Orange Bowl, when the Tigers won the national championship. He joined Great Falls native Banks McFadden (1959) and Terry Kinard (2001) as the only Clemson players in the CFHOF.

Davis will be inducted Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York. Other notable names in the class are Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie, former Oregon star and TV personality Ahmad Rashad and Penn State coach Joe Paterno.