CLEMSON — Clemson linebacker Spencer Shuey had an interesting answer Tuesday about preparing for N.C. States new hurry-up offense.
I dont think many offenses go faster than ours, said Shuey, a former South Mecklenburg High star. And they go just as fast when they practice against us.
Hard to argue with that logic going into Thursday night, when the third-ranked Tigers play the Wolfpack in Raleigh at Carter-Finley Stadium. New N.C. State coach Dave Doeren wants to play fast between snaps. That is the forte of Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, who believes 90 snaps per game is a realistic goal for his offense.
Now Doeren, who got Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl before moving to Raleigh, will try to turn Morris style-of-choice against the Tigers. That puts the onus on Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who had to contain offenses of similar pace in the Big 12 before moving on to Clemson.
Venables said this culture shift in college football puts pressure on defensive players to think a lot faster than they run or tackle.
Youve got to recruit more intelligent players, Venables said Tuesday. Theyve got to make dot-to-dot communications with the sideline to rapidly send in defensive formations against the hurry-up.
Shuey, a graduate student at Clemson, fits that description. Clemsons leading tackler this season (23 in two games), Shuey understands the offensive scheme is designed to limit defensive choices and cause confusion.
N.C. State is looking to make it so you cant make adjustments. So you have to think clearly and think fast, Shuey said. You have to know your assignment even when youre exhausted.
Venables compared the hurry-up offense to a televised poker tournament. By minimizing Clemsons substitutions and adjustments, N.C. State essentially knows Clemsons defensive hole cards, but Clemson doesnt know what the Wolfpack will run offensively.
Also they do a lot of things pre-snap (at the line of scrimmage) as far as movement. Theyll challenge us mentally, Venables said.
Thats where communication, intellect and preparation have to counteract trickery. Because if a defense is plain-vanilla, its cooked, according to Venables.
Whether its (press) box-to-sideline or sideline-to-the field, communication has got to be crisp, precise and fast, Venables said. You could play the same call all night, but youd get your teeth kicked in.
Rick Bonnell: 704-358-5129. Twitter: @Rick_Bonnell