Similar in style, different by design

MIAMI SHORES - The Clemson and Ohio State offenses would almost be carbon copies of one another if the quarterbacks' skill sets that were a little more similar.

Tajh Boyd, the passer, has thrown for 11,526 yards and tossed 102 touchdowns during his four-year Clemson career. Braxton Miller, the runner, has rushed for 3,019 and 30 scores through his first three seasons.

Combine the two and that's one heck of a dual-threat quarterback.

Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris would love to have that kind of a two-way quarterback. So would Urban Meyer and Tom Herman.

"They've got a 4.4 quarterback. Our guy doesn't quite run 4.4, he runs well," Swinney said, after Tuesday's practice at Barry University.

That's evident in both team's statistics for the last few seasons, particularly this one.

Clemson is 11th in the country in passing, averaging 329.2 yards per game. Ohio State is 93rd with 200.9 yards per contest. On the ground, the Buckeyes are putting up 317.5 yards, which is third in the nation. The Tigers are 60th with 173.7.

"I think you just play to your strengths each year, whatever they are. Some years you run it more. Some years you throw it more. Some years you've, maybe, got a quarterback that you want to involve more. I think we've tried to strive for a little bit of balance the last few years," Swinney said. "This year, we've been a little heavier towards the passing game, but it's all designed with best chance of winning."

The respective offensive coaches from each school have shared secrets. Herman and some of the Ohio State assistants visited Clemson earlier this year for a meeting of the minds.

"That was a good visit," Swinney said. "We didn't know we were going to end up playing each other in the bowl game. We lied to them on a lot of the stuff."

Swinney added, "It was really beneficial. Hopefully, they told us a bunch of good stuff."

All joking aside, it was a productive set of meetings for both staffs.

"They're very similar in the run game, do a lot of the same things, especially with the zone-read, the quarterback power, the quarterback-counter, all of those things," Swinney said. "They're a little different in just some technical things…there are a lot of similarities in both the running game and the passing game."

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