Archive for Clemson Football

What does HUNH stand for?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by admin

By: Cory Fravel

What is “HUNH?” Hurry up no huddle.

Coming this fall to Clemson. It will be exciting for fans, fun for players and a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators. This is what the doctor ordered for the Tigers’ this fall. With the wealth of talent at WR, RB, TE and QB, the “HUNH” will utilize the talents and speed of the skill players Clemson has and bring the first look of this offense to the ACC.

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn is a pioneer in the HUNH and in the second year at Auburn he produced a national championship.

The knee jerk reaction of most fans and college football junkies is “looks like Clemson is going to run the spread.” It’s not the spread. The spread is what Rich Rodriguez ran at Clemson, WVU and Michigan. The spread is what Urban Meyer ran at Florida. Mike Leach ran a version of the spread at Texas Tech with his Air Raid offense. More often than not the spread offenses are more pass than run.

Clemson’s new OC Chad Morris started visiting Gus Malzahn’s games when he was in Arkansas coaching HS football and Malzahn thought he was spying on him and his offense. Malzahn learns Morris is just curious and wants to implement his system in high school just like he did. Two state titles and a year under his belt at Tulsa and Morris has his first big opportunity- revive Clemson’s anemic offense back to life. From early reports it looks like that is exactly what he is doing. Make no mistake about this folks, Clemson’s success this year will hinge on how well this new offense does. The defense is stacked just, give them some leads.

The HUNH is a 2-back offense that runs play-action and misdirection from the shotgun. It’s smash mouth football that spreads the field east and west and vertical. It’s very simple and uses basic plays relying on better physical conditioning and misdirection to wear opponents down. It’s turning a four quarter game in to five quarters by running plays a rapid pace.

What Clemson has to identify as goals to run the HUNH
1- Physical training is of utmost importance to run this offense. It’s not training in the gym either it’s running the same offense you run on Saturday on the practice field every single day conditioning your players to perform at a feverish pace.
2-Run first and balance are the keys. Despite being in the gun running the ball is the staple to make this work. If you watch the offensive line and not the motioning and extra WR’s you will see the old school counter trey, iso, power and sweeps run all game from different looks. Looks that are designed to get the defense out of position and take advantage of matchups.
3- After the running game has been established it’s important to take regular shots down the field to stretch the field vertically.
4- Never let the defense get comfortable- reverses, wildcat, jet, sweeps, fakes, fire alarms and misdirection need to be part of the game plan.
5- Be productive and score points. If Clemson can get to 28-30 points a game not many teams.will beat the Tigers.

Goals for Clemson OC Chad Morris
1- Be in great shape. Practice at this pace everyday. The offense will get to run a third more plays in practice doing this and it simulates game speed with pads. Traditional gym training doesn’t prepare the team like practicing the offense everyday. Auburn’s fourth quarter comebacks last year weren’t a lucky streak, by that point in the game opposing teams were gassed and mentally fatigued see Alabama game.
2- Opposing teams can’t prepare or simulate this pace in the 6 days they get to prepare. Video coordinators cut the film at the start and end of the snaps so pace is hard to scout.
3- Speed up the game. Turn four quarters in to five. Hand the ball the umpire, sprint in your personnel changes on and off the field.
4- Play more snaps. For Clemson this means going from averaging around 63 snaps a game to 80 snaps a game.
5- Get at least one first down a series. Score quickly and often.

Making it work
1- “Landmark calls” are very important in this offense meaning having certain plays to run between the 40 yard lines etc, red zone etc. Being at a landmark like say the 43 yard line triggers one of the deep balls down field rather than calling it off the cuff. This allows the OC and QB to know whats coming by landmarks on the field further speeding up the game.
2- The OL only has to zone block and worry about their gap assignments.
3- The QB’s job is to call the OL scheme for example- “color play or color number” there are two colors for each direction and two code words per play. For example so far at Clemson practice I have heard BLACK BROWN GO 4, who knows what that means?
4- The RB’s always call the protection scheme. For example- if the RB’s call for a run to OL the OL ignores the RB’s if the RB’s call a pass the OL listen to the RB vice versa for the QB.
5- The mysterious color and number board on the sideline at Tulsa and Auburn’s meaning- the color on the board tell the players whether to use the number on the board as the play call or look to the signals being sent. It happens so fast if opposing defenses spend too much time on it they will get burned.
6- Signal words are used to designate play calls to the sideline or boundary like “go here go there”
7- The QB on many plays will have three options- keep the ball, hand off or pass. This makes your QB’s decision making and footwork paramount to your success.
8- Formations dictate the personnel meaning players know when it’s one back 4 wide I am in or I am out.
9- The speed of play means lots of players touch the ball this means the defense can’t focus on one player as the play maker. The QB drives the pace. The TE known as the 3back in this offense often will burn defenses as he can easily slither out untouched.
10- You will see more and more Morris not coaching mistakes on the fields but rather letting the pace of play dictate success and failure in practice and coach off that in the film room.
11- Morris has a chart he keeps for fumbled, ints, dropped balls etc. This is used to teach fundamentals.

One would think with all this information it would be tough for the players to grasp this offense but from the people I have spoken with they have told me the opposite. Apparently it’s much easier for the players to grasp this system than the previous. In fact some players have already said they understand this offense better already than through second spring practice of former OC Billy Napier’s offense. This is encouraging for Clemson fans. This offense has nowhere to go but up from last year.

I think like Auburn when Malzahn arrived you will see Clemson start a little slow and then the light bulb will come on. The difference for Clemson is there is more talent at WR, RB and QB than the first year Malzahn had at Auburn.

Tajh Boyd will be the key for this to all gel. Let’s not forget that even in Clemson’s bowl loss Tajh led the team to two TD’s in the final 3 minutes sparking a furious late comeback. Boyd was born for this offense. With Boyd losing 15 pounds in the off season he looks great and his footwork gets better every practice. If he can limit the big mistakes this could be a huge year for him. With multiple options Boyd will be able to pull it down and take off running instead of forcing a throw. Let’s not forget this offense always has a 3back or RB floating around the line of scrimmage as a safety valve.

Clemson has a treacherous stretch early in the schedule facing Auburn, FSU and VT all
in a row. If the Tigers can get through that early stretch they are primed for a run as the rest of the year sets up nicely. From what we have seen so far out of Morris the players love him and love this offense. As many close games as the Tigers had with the bush league offense last year you can’t help but think the extra points this year will bode well for Clemson. This is a year Clemson will not be talked about except to say this coach or that coach is on the hot seat and no positive attention will be garnered early. The Tigers are in a corner and because of Chad Morris I feel Clemson may very well surprise some folks this year for once. With the arrival of Sammy Watkins, Charone Peake, Martavius Bryant and Mike Bellamy the future looks bright. You can bank on the fab four freshman making an impact this year. Andre Ellington will return healthy this fall and will likely be the ACC’s best RB barring injury.

 

pic property of Cory Fravel

Spring practice begins- news and notes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2011 by admin

By: Cory Fravel

This figures to be one the more important spring practice periods on record. The main focus this spring is the new OC Chad Morris and the furious pace he will set. The defense has ground to make up a well with the losses of DaQuan Bowers, DeAndre McDaniel and Marcus Gilchrist.

Spring practice has started and with more energy focus than the past two years. New OC Chad Morris commands a big on field presence with his enthusiastic nature and upbeat personality. It’s clear Morris will get the most out his players and push them to get the most out of themselves.

The offense pushed through 22 periods at a furious pace and new OC Morris was very pleased with the first day of practice. There were 8-12 seconds between snaps. I can tell you now teams will have a long week trying to prepare for Clemson this fall. No one in the ACC runs anything like this offense and by early indications this offense is going to put a lot of pressure on on opposing defenses.

Morris was pleased with QB Tajh Boyd but for probably the fifth time he has emphasized the importance of Boyd working on his footwork. Boyd’s throwing motion is not of concern but his footwork is. In this offense the QB needs to be able to read the DE’s without selling his play with his footwork. This is a story line to watch throughout spring and fall camp. One note of importance is that Boyd looks to be 15 lbs lighter. He appears in much better shape than in past years. Boyd’s ability to absorb what Morris is teaching and the new fundamentals will likely dictate his success this fall. Cole Stoudt appears to be the #2 with a bullet in the case Boyd were to go down. From what I have seen I think you will see Tony McNeal redshirt.

OL coach Robbie Caldwell- folks he is making his presence felt in a very big way. Really getting after guys not letting for one second. Pushing these guys for perfect technique. I think by mid-season or earlier you are going to see a more fundamentally sound, tougher and more efficient offensive line. This was a big hire, BIG.

Lots of formations with TE Dwayne Allen lined up at FB/TE offset to the backfield blocking catching screens, running curls and flat routes. Speedster RS freshman WR Joe Craig is in the backfield in certain formation and in the wildcat formation. You have to think when RB Mike Bellamy arrives he will be used this way too.

Hot Rod McDowell and DJ Howard worked as 1 and 2 at RB’s with Andre Ellington still on the mend from toe surgery. This will be beneficial to both backs as they get more seasoned with the first team offense. DJ Howard continues to narrow the gap and close in on McDowell. Watch for this battle to escalate as spring practice continues. Coach Swinney expects Ellington to start running next week but won’t practice until fall camp. This is not as significant as Heather Dinich made this sound. All this means literally is that Ellington can start to run again and make some light cuts. Again he will not resume practice until fall camp.

Postion change- This was talked about around bowl practice and now is happening. RS Freshman Bashaud Breeland has moved from safety to cornerback. He is one of if not the best 1 on 1 defenders on the defense. I would be surprised if he wasn’t one of the starting CB’s game one.

Interesting note former Clemson CB and NY Jet Justin Miller was working with the return team on the practice field. He left after his junior year for the NFL and is back in town taking some classes to work on his degree. WR Nuke Hopkins will be at all 15 practices this spring. He will dress for the VT basketball game but will not travel with the baesketball team for the ACC tournament.

Part 3 of my Levon Kirkland Interview

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 2, 2011 by admin

This segment covers lots of topics from kicking to how Levon watches the game.

Finally! Clemson and SC are Rivals…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by admin

Finally, Clemson and South Carolina are rivals
By: Cory Fravel

For many years Clemson has dominated the Gamecocks with little to no resistance. The fall of 2009 you could see the tide turning even though CJ Spiller was still scoring at will on nearly every team. 2009 South Carolina didn’t get a call from the refs, no good bounces they just beat Clemson and soundly.

Fast forward to the fall of 2010 and the Gamecocks frankly embarassed the Tigers in Death Valley. Here we are Tiger fans ready for 2011 but for once South Carolina until
proven otherwise is in firm

Like it or not Clemson fans South Carolina has done the Tigers a favor. The last two years of football combined with South Carolina’s baseball success has has raised the bar and refocused Clemson. I think what Gamecock fans will find out is the sleeping giant has awoke and things are about to change.

It’s been 20 years of ups and downs and mediocrity for Clemson football post-Danny Ford. South Carolina forcing the issue with improved play will and has improved competition. This has made the Tigers take a look in the mirror.

Make no mistake about this- pumper or dumper this Clemson fanbase at best was divided if changes to the offense hadn’t been made this offseason. I think the changes made were good and will show big returns in the future. Dabo Swinney’s career is relying on it.

Coach Swinney to be fair will have this year and next to right the ship. Ten wins should be the standard for the 2012 football season or it should be considered a failure. The staff assembled at Clemson now is high powered and combined with the athletes in place it should produce better results.

Standards at Clemson should be high for football. In my mind with the athletes and coaching Clemson has in football should produce a 7-9 win season for 2011 followed by 2012 season where 10 wins are a must, period.

Clemson now with a legit OC in Chad Morris and with staff additions of Robbie Caldwell, Marion Hobby and Tony Elliott the Tigers are poised for change.

South Carolina fans would have you believe that they just won the the national championship. Gamecock fans you just went 9-5. Just like Clemson did in 2009.

South Carolina won a down SEC East and had the feathers beat out of them not once but twice by Auburn. The SEC championship game was a romp and it was clear the Gamecocks had no business playing Auburn for the SEC championship. What is that noise? Wait I think Auburn scored again on South Carolina.

The Gamecocks were dismantled after Lattimore was hit in the mouth by Florida State. FSU physically dominated South Carolina.

Who are you South Carolina? You beat Bama last year who struggled all year on offense. Anyone else? Every team you beat was down or reloading. Let’s keep the cart behind the horse Gamecock fans.

South Carolina will have a good team this year and probably compete for the sec east (still down) but UGA, Tenn, Florida will all be better in 2011 too. It’s too early to assume South Carolina rules the SEC East.

South Carolina is very thin at RB and TE. The Gamecocks also played inconsistent on defense for stretches. The secondary under performed all year.

Stephen Garcia is one interception away from Sprurrier’s childish hat throw, wrinkled smirk and a sarchastic comment to put him on the bench.

If Lattimore stays healthy he will give the Gamecocks another chance for a 10 win season. If Lattimore goes down like agaimst FSU South Carolina loses, period.

Like Clemson the Gamecocks lost the last 2 games and were manhandled on both occassions by AU an FSU. We won’t find out again until November 2012 if Clemson is back but you can rest assured the Tigers are working toward at it more vigorously than ever.

Are the Gamecocks favored over Clemson in Columbia this year? Probably. Should they be? Frankly yes. Does that mean South Carolina wins? No. By that point Clemson and the new offense will be peaking and revenge will be on the mind of the Tigers.

Mark this down- Robbie Caldwell NOT Chad Morris and not the defense will win Clemson more games next year. Clemson’s improved OL play from Caldwell’s presence will result in better more consistent protection for Boyd and better technical run blocking for Ellington and Bellamy. Games are won in the trenches and there is no one better than Robbie Caldwell.

One thing is for sure Tiger players and fans are hungry again and they want to win. This South Carolina winning streak will ultimately start a losing streak that is far longer. Over time and history no matter how hard the the Gamecocks recruit and play when Clemson is focused like now and re-energized the folks in Columbia will not be able to hold off the Tigers for long. The clock is ticking. November will be here soon…

 

CJ Spiller vs SC in the 2008 Game in Clemson

 

 

Part 2 with Clemson legend Levon Kirkland talking defense

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 12, 2011 by admin

This is part 2 of my talk with Clemson legend Levon Kirkland. Today we talk about the Steelers, Clemson’s offense & defense, player development and where the program is

Levon Kirkland Interview part 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by admin

Recently I spoke with Clemson and Steeler legend Levon Kirkland on several different topics. This is part 1 we will post part 2 & 3 later today and tomorrow. Enjoy.