CLEMSON — Simple is better.
To illustrate, take a look at how Clemson has changed the language of play-calling for one specific play.
Last fall: Storm personnel, flood right, A-peel, Lakers West, Z-space, hitch.
This spring: Flood right, Z-space, hitch.
Midway through Clemson’s first spring under new offensive coordinator Chad Morris, the players are finding the offense easier to follow than last season. In effort to improve and become more efficient offensively, Clemson is simplifying its philosophy down to the language.
“(Last year), you had to call personnel, formation and movement; now we have eliminated a few of those steps in the play-call sequence, and I think that has helped a little bit,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said.
“That helps with your tempo, but the biggest thing is just the system of it is simpler in how it all fits together. It’s simpler to grasp.”
Not only has the language been simplified, but so has the delivery to the no-huddle offense.
Rather than rely on complex hand signals, as they have the past two seasons, the Tigers will employ color flip-cards as play indicators, along with simplified hand signals.
The hand signals will indicate formation, while colors will be code for plays or direction. Multiple cards will be seen on the sideline; some will be “live,” others will not.
“It’s easier and it’s allowing us to play as fast as we play because of just some very effective, but simple, system things,” Swinney said.
The flip-cards are similar to what Gus Malzahn uses at Auburn. The language and delivery process are critical because, like Malzahn, Morris wants to be able to operate at a breakneck pace, with a stated goal of 80 plays per game.
“The less thinking a kid has to do on the field, the better he can play,” Morris said. “When a kid has to think, you take aggression out of them, uncertainty creeps in, a hesitation in their play, and we can’t have that.”
The offense should allow younger players such as receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins to get up to speed more quickly.
“You have less stuff but you do more,” Hopkins said.
Swinney said he believes Clemson will have an offense that is unique in the ACC.