Spence: Expect a Chinese Fire Drill

CLEMSON – Going up against a Georgia Tech defense is always a difficult task regardless of how good the team is. The Yellow Jackets blitz, and blitz, and blitz and then they blitz some more.

Literally on just about every single play, Georgia Tech will use some kind of blitzing to try and rattle the quarterback and force him into making a poor pass or read.

The Yellow Jackets employ the zone blitz for the most part, which involves dropping defensive linemen into coverage and sending safeties and linebackers to rush the quarterback.

Most of the time, there are a minimum of five players trying to get to the quarterback and sometimes six in a full out rush.

"It looks like a Chinese fire drill out there for the quarterback sometimes," Clemson offensive coordinator Rob Spence said. "They force you into making a quick decision that is sometimes a bad decision. That's been the principle of that defense since its inception for the last 15-20 years.

"It's always been a nightmare for a coordinator and a quarterback because of the different looks up front and because from where all the different blitzes come from, all the different angles they come at you from. So, it's a difficult proposition at the position of quarterback."

In order for Clemson and quarterback Cullen Harper to be successful, the Tigers have to be able to run the ball effectively, which they did to perfection last year. If they can run, then it will open up the passing game and slow down some of the blitzing.

"You have to be very, very well prepared to play them," Spence said. "You have to look at the amount of pressure they can apply to the passer when you drop back to throw the ball and you have to make sure he's protected. You have to make sure that you've got a run game that you can execute against a multitude of looks and zone pressures. …

"You've got to make sure you can move the quarterback around a little bit and not give them a beat on where you launching the ball from all the time."

One way to beat the blitzing is to spread the offense and force linebackers into coverage as opposed to allowing them to take after the quarterback.

However, there is also a problem with this. If the offense is spread out, it allows the defense to have more rushers than blockers if they choose to blitz.

"They like it when you line up in a lot of spread formations," Spence said. "It puts your offensive linemen in tough positions because of the numbers game. But it's something you have to do. You have to do it to beat some of those schemes."

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