Quick Hits with Coach O'Cain

Clemson offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain discusses this week's game against Texas A&M, and also talks about how his offense can improve over the course of the season.

You are going back to College Station 30 years later...any comments?
O'Cain: (laughing) I hope it's a better trip this time. We've got a lot better quarterback I know that. I haven't been there in about 30 years and you don't remember a whole lot as a player.

What do you remember about going out there to College Station back then?
O'Cain: I think the camaraderie that they have in the military system is accentuated there. I kind of relate it back to Clemson when it was military for a lot of years. There's a special something that brings you back to this place. I think that camaraderie within the military system spills over into the athletic teams.

What will you try to accomplish this week at Texas A&M with your offense?
O'Cain: As we do every week, we want to go in with a balanced attack as we can. We go in every week trying to be equal with our run-pass ratio. That's the first and foremost thing is to stay balanced and do as much as we can to keep them off track. You look at them on tape, and there's a night and day difference between the game they played in Utah, and the game they played against Wyoming. I don't know a lot about the two schools, but I think Utah is pretty good- I don't know about Wyoming. So we don't know exactly what to expect from them from that standpoint. But it's more of what we do, as opposed to what they do and that's what I tell our offense. We have to take care of our business and whatever our assignments will be, and if we do that, we'll be okay.

Because this coaching staff visited Utah earlier this year, does that help you game plan some for Texas A&M?
O'Cain: Yeah. I think it will help us some. Some of the things that Utah did to them are some things that we've got in our plan. It helps to have seen them play. Missouri did some of the same things to them last year. Texas did the same thing to them last year. But at least we've got a game this year where we can see their personnel does against some of the same things that we do.

Are you seeing the same kind of defense ran by Carl Torbush as you did while he was at North Carolina?
O'Cain: It's different. And right now it's not nearly as complex as what Carl ran at North Carolina. They aren't playing nearly as much true man coverage as he did. His last three or four years at North Carolina, they were bump and run, and a man coverage team. They're not playing as much of that at this point in time. You keep hearing about the youngness of their defense, and their team as a whole, maybe that has something to do with it. He's not nearly as complex up front with blitzes and alignment as he was at North Carolina.

Are you passing the ball as well was you'd like?
O'Cain: Not really. We've put ourselves, and I say 'put ourselves' because coaches have done this with some of the decisions we've made. We've had 13 or 14 throwaways during the first two games, and that's too many. Some of it has been protections and some of it has been calls, and some of it has been because we've concentrated a little more keeping our backs in on the passing game for protection. So we haven't had those check down routes that we usually have. That's probably the thing that we have to get corrected. It's not anything to blame, it's just part of the decision we have to make as far as what we do offensively.

You had two running backs really step up last week, and now you've got Duane Coleman possibly coming back. Any thoughts as to how you might handle that situation?
O'Cain: Well you start with what you've got and see how Duane's going to do. He has not practiced one day yet. Right now, I'm not counting on Duane, not because I don't think he can, but because he hasn't proven that he can get out there and play at this point. We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Now, when he's healthy, and he's ready to play, and maybe that's this Saturday, then we've got to decision make.

How can Charlie Whitehurst improve?
O'Cain: He's had a couple of high throws, but you go back over the two or three years that he's played, he's made some throws that not a lot of guys could make. And when I say a couple of high throws, we are only talk about three or four. The throws he's had to make in these two ball games have been difficult. Corner routes, deep balls. We are going to get the ball downfield and the farther you throw the ball down the field, the lower the percentage you are going to have. He's been on the money. You take away the throw aways in two games, and then the five dropped passes. One to Curtis Baham that's a touchdown, Airese is going to take the ball about 10 or 15 yards down to the eight yard line, and then Kelvin had one that would have gone through for 10 yards. Other than two or three throws, he's thrown the ball pretty dog gone good.

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