Ground and pound mentality

CLEMSON - Trick plays? Yeah, right. Les Miles prefers his offense to take on a no nonsense kind of approach.

It's not fancy -- none of that up-tempo, no-huddle spread stuff that Clemson's offense likes to run. And it's certainly not the wingbone option used by the service academies and Atlanta's major college team.

The LSU formula is simple…

Cut and dry.

Short, sweet and to the point.

…all of that.

Line up with a tight end or two, put a fullback in front of the running back and run right at opposing defenses -- may the best man win.

"They're downhill -- power lead, power toss, [and] belly -- downhill, inside, out. They've got speed to attack the perimeter," Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "They definitely would like to run it down your throat."

Leading the LSU run game is freshman Jeremy Hill, who's first on the team with 130 carries for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Kenny Hilliard has 80 rushes for 456 yards and six scores. Michael Ford has picked up 393 yards on 69 carries and scored three times. Spencer Ware has 91 carries for 358 yards and a score.

Checking in at 5-foot-10, 215 pounds, Ford is the smallest of the four backs.

"They're going to run the football, because they're very persistent about it. We just can't allow them to get the rhythm going," Venables said.

The gold and purple Tigers like to beat their opposing defenses, leaving them black and blue.

To say LSU runs to setup the pass might be a bit of an understatement. The Tigers have 502 rushing plays to 333 passing plays this season.

"We're going to have to play well in the secondary. They're going to take opportunities," Venables said. "They're going to force you to stop the run. Once you show a strong commitment in doing so, they're going to take some 1-on-1 opportunities outside and over the top."

No matter what happens through the air, what goes down up front is what matters the most.

"It's like every week. You can't let them win at the line of scrimmage, or it's going to be a long night," Venables said. "That's going to be the biggest challenge, that we're able to match that physicality and keep them off balance."

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