Clemson Unveils New Formation

RALEIGH, N.C. – Clemson tailback James Davis new offensive coordinator Rob Spence was onto something special from the very first time they tried a newly installed formation in practice earlier in the week.

"The first time we ran it in practice, I broke it way up the middle for a touchdown," Davis said. "Everybody was really excited about that formation we did put in because you can do all sorts of things out of that formation."

The formation took the tight end, which is normally lined up next to the tackle, and moved him one player over, so the space created between him and the tackle equaled one player. Directly behind that open space, the H-back lined up, with a wide receiver on the same side split wide.

There were also two split backs in the backfield and quarterback Charlie Whitehurst lined up at both in the shotgun and under center. More times than not, every time the Tigers called a running play, big yardage was gained.

If Davis was lined up on the right, he took the handoff running toward the left guard and tackle. If he was lined up on the left, he ran toward the right guard and tackle.

By the time Clemson's third series on offense in the first quarter was over, it was painfully obvious the N.C. State defense and coaching staff had no idea how to handle a new offensive formation by the Tigers.

For the entire first half, the misdirection used by Clemson had the Wolfpack guessing on every single play. They had no clue how to stop the Tigers' success out of it.

"I was a little surprised (at how easy it was) with them being a top defense," Davis said. "They bring a lot of pressure up the middle and I figured it would be hard to get the running game going."

The ease at which the Tigers ran the ball immediately altered their game plan.

"Going into the game, the game plan was going to be a lot of passing," Davis said. "But we executed the run game, so we had to stick with it."

Clemson never once showed that formation again during the second half, but by that point, there was no need. It had a comfortable lead and losing the game was never really in doubt.

"We probably didn't expect to run it as well as we did," Whitehurst said. "We just kept them off balance and it came easy."

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