Spence Makes No Apologies

CLEMSON – So, you think Clemson should take more chances throwing the ball down the field? Well, second-guess all you want because offensive coordinator Rob Spence isn't planning on changing anything anytime soon. And by the way, he doesn't care what you think.

"I didn't know there was a lot of controversy about being conservative," Spence said after Tuesday night's practice. "I'm not about being conservative. I'm about trying to help us win games. And if that means throwing the ball more downfield, we'll do it. If that means running the ball more, we'll do it. I don't care if they have to snore in the stands as long as we find a way to win."

According to Spence and head coach Tommy Bowden, the Tigers threw more times downfield that Boston College did on Saturday. He doesn't understand why people don't recognize that.

"That's hysterical. That is so funny," he said. "We just didn't hit our deep balls. Actually, if you go back and look at it, we had opportunities downfield. We dropped one and probably didn't connect on one with Chansi that probably would have resulted in a field goal. Then we obviously threw the ball vertically to Bobby (Williamson) in the overtime. And we hit the deep wheel route in the third quarter.

"We just started calculating how we were going to throw it. If you really gauge how many people actually drop back and just throw the ball deep, no one does that. You just don't do that much because of the element of taking sacks and so on. Again, my job is not to look good and not to look pretty. My job is to help us try to coordinate an offense that will help our team and not necessarily make me look good."

And just for the record, Spence said he has no regrets about Saturday's play calling and that he wouldn't do anything differently.

One of the problems is there have been several times this season when quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has attempted to throw it deep, but he's been sacked before he can get rid of the ball, much in the same fashion as last season.

"I have to protect the quarterback in play calling," Spence said. "I have to protect the offensive line. When you do what we do, you don't want to put them in bad situations and I don't want them to work up hill all the time. …

"We gave up three sacks (to Boston College), and those were on drop-back passes, by the way, where the ball was going to go downfield. That's what I'm talking about. That's what you can't see. Those are the things that you don't discover if you don't really have film and study it."

And just so there's no confusion, what Spence considers to be a downfield pass compared to what the general public believes one to be is generally two entirely different things.

"In my opinion, a deep pass or a big play in the passing game is anything over 16 yards," he said. "If you talk to anybody in the NFL, most of them consider a pass of over 16 yards to be what they call an explosive. I know for the public, a deep ball is to throw a deep ball to the wide receiver on a go route. To me, that's not necessarily the case. … It's the public perception of what people consider a deep ball. I guess we as coaches look at it a little bit different."

Spence also added that it's not exactly easy to go deep or every team would be good at doing it.

"There's so much that goes into throwing the ball," he said. "Dropping back and throwing the ball is the most sophisticated thing you do in the game of college football or in the NFL. It's very, very difficult and challenging and it takes a while to get the timing and the rhythm down in those kind of plays. You're also asking an awful lot of the offensive linemen and I just don't believe in asking that much of them at certain points when other things will work and other things will put us in a position to win."

Injury updates
Rashaad Jackson is listed as doubtful due to his bruised lower leg muscle. He is still in a cast. Also, receiver Rendrick Taylor had a screw surgically implanted in his left wrist. He wore a thick cast and had his arm in a sling, however he is listed as questionable and is expected to play.

CUTigers.com Top Stories