Scouting LSU: How Clemson Wins

Play with an attitude, protect Tajh Boyd, watch out for LSU's trickery

Clemson right guard Tyler Shatley blocks for quarterback Tajh Boyd during the second quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson right guard Tyler Shatley blocks for quarterback Tajh Boyd during the second quarter at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.

How Clemson Wins

1. Embrace the role of underdog: Like the 1958 Clemson team that played unbeaten top-ranked LSU down to the final snap before falling 7-0 in the Sugar Bowl, quarterback Tajh Boyd says the Tigers are relishing their role as underdog as they prepare for seven-ranked LSU.

"Not many people are giving us a chance in this game," said Boyd.

Heavy work being performed with a lighter step, said Boyd.

"The mood has been totally different from last year's bowl practice," said Boyd.

Focused intensity will be a key on game day, as the Tigers take on one of their stiffest challenges of the season. Delivering an early blow will be important for Clemson's chances.

2. Win up front, protect Tajh Boyd, execute: It's going to be up to Clemson to crack LSU's defense, and the Tigers can't do if they get pushed around up front like they did against South Carolina.

Chad Morris expects LSU to play its own game and let the chips fall where they may.

"They're not going to change what they do because they're playing us," said Morris. "They're going to be who they are."

Morris said Clemson's offense can't afford the three-and-outs that helped limit the Tigers' possession, and opportunity, against the Gamecocks.

"When you go three-and-out, the offense doesn't work," said Morris.

Morris said LSU's defensive front is strong, deep and physical, and will test the Tigers' ability to execute. Clemson's offensive front five will need to play its best game of the season.

3. Hold its own on defense, and watch for trickery: On offense, LSU's Tigers don't mess around - except when they do. Offering a change of pace on LSU's traditional power-based offense, Les Miles has developed a reputation as a gambler, spicing up his attack well-timed and well-executed trick plays and sleight-of-hand.

"Their offensive style of play is different from anybody we've seen all year, just because of their physical nature that they have," said Dabo Swinney. "Third-and-10, it doesn't matter - they're going to run the power. Or maybe a trick play off the power.

"It's just a different style than we see week to week."

LSU has gotten particularly good mileage off field goal fakes, including a perfectly-executed flip-back from holder to kicker, who sprinted for a touchdown against South Carolina in 2007, as well as various reverses and reverse-throwbacks.

The trick plays work because of the effort and attention to detail required to contain LSU's running back.

"They run the power, the power lead, the power toss, the belly," said Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "They've got the speed to attack the corners, but they definitely want to run it down your throat."

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Comments » 8

TigerFan95 writes:

Clemson will score an early touchdown and a field goal in the first quarter but will slow down and sputter out in the second. By contrast LSU will start off slow in the first quarter and get a FG but score two touchdowns late in the second to take a deceptively close score of 17-10 into the halftime locker room. Just like the SC game things will get ugly for Clemson in the second half as LSU will run over their weak defense and score early and often. LSU will not punt in the second half and Chad Morris will abandon the run early in the 3rd quarter. Clemson will get a TD late in the fourth to make the final score appear somewhat more respectable than the game actually was. Final score LSU 44 Clemson 17.

68Scot writes:

The Bayou Bengals will exploit the weakness of the BiLo tigers' lines. cLemson's offense sputters when it has to play against a team with a real defense. The funniest thing in the above article was Morris' statement,"When you go three-and-out, the offense doesn't work". WOW!!!! $1.3 million per year for insight like that......LSU 52 clemson 9

MoncksTater writes:

Clemson runs the ball early and often..outflanking LSU cbs with speed from Andre Ellington. Clemson leads by 6 at the half 13-7 survives a late push by LSU to win in Atlanta , 31-27

Bigboots writes:

in response to MoncksTater:

Clemson runs the ball early and often..outflanking LSU cbs with speed from Andre Ellington. Clemson leads by 6 at the half 13-7 survives a late push by LSU to win in Atlanta , 31-27

Get a day job.

Bleedsorange writes:

in response to Bigboots:

Get a day job.

The pot Calling the Kettle Black. Clemson By 10 Minimum.

Tiger4Life61 (Inactive) writes:

Orange Bowl Part Deux

Grinch10 writes:

Looking forward to a great ball game to end the season.

Then it's just too long until next.

TrevorT writes:

No predictions on this one, just love for my Tigers. There's no doubt we can do it, we just have to go out and execute. Feels like it's about time to me.
GO TIGERS!!!
By the way, may I ask what is the motivation for a so-called fan to post a prediction of his own team to be blown out? Even if you turn out to be right, where is the up side? Sure, you have every right to make your prediction known, but I still don't get it. Anyone care to enlighten me?

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