Misdirection Furman's Best Friend

Bobby Lamb fully understands that the odds of his Furman football team beating 20th-ranked Clemson Saturday at Memorial Stadium are only slightly better than him winning the Powerball Lottery. But, heck, somebody hits that jackpot nearly every week.

The win by fellow Southern Conference member Appalachian State over a then-No. 5 Michigan team has put all Division I teams on notice that upsets can and do happen.

But Lamb doesn't think the Mountaineers ruined the opportunities of other Division I-AA teams from pulling off a shocking win.

"Evidently not," the head coach said. "Didn't Northern Iowa beat Iowa State last week? Evidently there's still some out there. It's just a matter of it being your day."

But in order for it to be Furman's shining moment, the stars and planets have to line up and something completely out of the ordinary has to happen. Clemson (2-0) isn't Michigan. The Tigers can actually play defense.

"There's no bones about it, we've got to take our A-game to Clemson," Lamb said. "If we have an A-minus or B or C game, we're going to get run out of the stadium. They've just got too much talent.

"We've got to have our A game, plus we've got to get some help from Clemson. Our kids are going to go over there and play as hard as we can play and we're going to try to do the best we can."

Each time Furman (1-1) plays a major opponent like the Tigers, a variance of its regular offense is used. There will be more misdirection and option plays to try and neutralize Clemson's speed and size on defense.

"Everybody watched the Florida State game on that Monday and they're very, very physical and very, very fast," Lamb said of the Tigers. "We've got to somehow and someway go over there with a game plan where we're going to try and slow them down with some misdirection and different things. Our kids will go play hard and that's all we can ask for at this time."

If the Paladins are to have any success whatsoever, they will have to be able to run the ball, which is something they had a hard time doing last week against Hofstra, which resulted in a Furman loss.

"We were not able to establish a running game," Lamb said. "Anytime we can't establish a running game here at Furman, we're in trouble. So, that's our number one objective of the week – to work on our run game, getting the ball to the best players we have in some space. But we weren't very good in running the football last week, so that's one thing we've got to do."

The Paladins have come oh so close to pulling off the big upsets in recent years, but eventually they came up just short in the end.

Last year, Furman lost 45-42 at North Carolina. Three years ago, the Paladins lost in overtime at Pittsburgh, which went on to win the Big East and play in the BCS. There was also that 2003 game against Clemson that they wound up losing 28-17.

But there was that one big win in 1999 when Furman rolled into Chapel Hill and actually beat the Tar Heels 28-3.

"Anything can happen," Lamb said. "So, those are the things we are drawing from."

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