Now we get it.
What Auburn did to Missouri on Saturday is pretty much a blueprint for what Chad Morris says he wants to do to Clemson's opponents: Run the football. Run the football some more. And keep running the football.
Watching Auburn's offense with Clemson in mind was a bit of a revelation.
The 'smash-mouth spread,' as Morris has described the offensive system he shares with Gus Malzahn, was on display in the SEC championship game, as Auburn brutalized Missouri's defense for 545 yards rushing.
Malzahn's Tigers also threw for 132 yards. They could have had more, had they chosen that route. But, honestly, running the football was just so much fun. Tre Mason alone carved up the opposing defense for 304 yards and four touchdowns.
Clemson fans who watched the game saw a lot they're familiar with: a shotgun and pistol formation mix, wideouts stretching the field horizontally, backs in motion, tight-end types anywhere and everywhere, a handful of basic rushing plays out of a variety of presentations.
They also saw blocking executed at a very high level. A lot of blocking: offensive linemen sealing off rushing lanes, with backs, tight ends and receivers chasing down linebackers and safeties in the second level.
For the 5-10, 205-pound Mason, it looked almost too easy. And whenever quarterback Nick Marshall opted to keep the football, Missouri was routinely and efficiently blocked at the point of attack. Whenever a defender fell for a bit of misdirection, the inevitable result was a big play.
This is the kind of offense Morris talked about executing when he was introduced as Clemson's offensive coordinator three years ago.
He, like Malzahn, honed his vision at the high school level. He sought out Malzahn as a mentor, learned and tweaked the offense to his liking, and eventually jumped into the college ranks as Malzahn's successor as offensive coordinator at Tulsa.
A year later, Dabo Swinney came calling, intrigued by the hybrid of power, spread and pace, which matched up with his own ideas of how offensive machinery should function.
In Morris' three seasons at Clemson, the Tigers have rewritten practically every offensive record in the book.
But whether by preference or practicality, Clemson's version of the offense Malzahn invented has leaned more heavily on the passing game than has Auburn, which won a national championship in 2010 with Cam Newton running, literally, Malzahn's offense. The War Eagle Tigers will now will play for another in January.
Morris will tell anyone who'll listen that the rushing game is the foundation of his offense. Yet the numbers say that he's still looking for his sweet spot in the balance of run and pass.
Auburn's unbeaten 2010 national championship team averaged 284.8 yards rushing (57 percent) and 214.4 yards passing per game, for a total of 499.2. For the season, Auburn's top rushers were Newton (1,474), followed by running backs Michael Dyer (1,093), Onterio McCalebb (810) and Marion Fannin (395).
This season, Auburn is rushing for 335.7 yards per game (66.4 percent) and passing for 169.6 yards per contest, for a 505.3 per-game average. Top rushers are Mason (1,621), Marshall (1,023), Corey Grant (650) and Cameron Artis Payne (609).
In 2011, Clemson's first season under Morris, the Tigers passed for 282.3 yards (64 percent) and rushed for 158.2, for a total of 440.8. Top rushers were Andre Ellington (1,178), Mike Bellamy (343), D.J. Howard (230), Sammy Watkins (231) and Tajh Boyd (218).
Last season, Clemson passed for 321.6 (62.7 percent) and rushed for 191.1, for a 512.7 total. The Tigers top rushers were Ellington (1,081), Boyd (514), Rod McDowell (450), Howard (138), Zac Brooks (118) and Watkins (100).
This season, the Tigers are passing for 329.2 (65.4 percent) and rushing for 173.8, for a 502.9 total. Clemson's top rushers are McDowell (956), Boyd (284), Brooks (246), Howard (213) and C.J. Davidson (152). Watkins has rushed the ball just five times for eight yards this season.
Morris, like Malzahn, has taken advantage of the weapons he has available, including his quarterback's ability to take a called running play and turn it into a pass. Part of the beauty of the Malzahn-Morris offense is its flexibility.
But looking at the whole, and gauging by his own comments, it would seem safe to say that if Morris had his way, he'd love to do to Clemson's opponents what Auburn did to Missouri on Saturday.
The next generation of playmaking runners - Deshaun Watson, Chad Kelly, Tyshon Dye, Wayne Gallman, Jae'lon Oglesby, Adam Choice and C.J. Fuller - may bring just what's needed to take the Tigers there.
With a bit of Auburn-esque help from their friends up front, of course.