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