When Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele reflects on Miami's passing game, it's fitting he envisions the old-school Oakland Raiders and owner Al Davis' addiction to the deep threat.
Everything about the No. 8 Hurricanes' new offense, from the personnel to the scheme, has an NFL feel.
"They're going to throw it deep now. And they're going to throw it deep often," Steele said Tuesday.
"You go in that defensive room and look at all them formations up there and all them routes on the computer printouts. You see a lot of long lines."
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Get in line if you want to join the praise parade for first-year Miami coordinator Mark Whipple, whose pro-style offense has been the toast of the ACC this season.
But the 51-year-old Steele hasn't proven too shabby in his initial go-round with the Tigers (3-3, 2-2 ACC), either.
Their diverse wealth of coaching experiences, along with their aggressive philosophies, makes the coaches' strategic showdown arguably the most compelling matchup in Saturday's contest.
"It feels like a rivalry game," Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris said.
Miami's resurrection has coincided with the hiring of Whipple, 52, who served as a Philadelphia Eagles assistant in 2008 and the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterbacks coach from 2004-06. Before that, he engineered high-powered offenses as the coach at Massachusetts, Brown and New Haven.
The Hurricanes (5-1, 2-1) survived a murderer's row of opening games by posting a 3-1 record against top-25 opponents, due in large measure to the proficiency of its "Whipple Ball" offense.
The tricky part is determining where Whipple's pro influence is more apparent - player development or scheme.
Having inherited a unit flush with young talent that largely had underachieved under former coordinator Patrick Nix, Whipple has overseen the sophomore Harris' emergence as perhaps the midseason front-runner for ACC player of the year. Three of the team's top four receivers are sophomores as well, and converted basketball forward Jimmy Graham has three touchdowns as a first-year backup tight end.
Miami's success largely has been predicated on its versatility and unpredictability. The Hurricanes have demonstrated the ability to run the gamut offensively - whether it's running for power in short-yardage situations, showcasing a West Coast short passing game or spreading out with four receivers and going vertical.
"Pro influence, that's the best way to describe it," Steele said.
"It's not about just necessarily pounding sand in a rat hole; he's going to formation you and make you adjust to things and beat teams that way."
Steele would have some insight in that regard; he spent four seasons as an NFL assistant with the Carolina Panthers (1995-98).
His system likewise has reformed the identity of Clemson's defense from conservative to attacking, without diminished results.
The Tigers rank in the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, total defense and sacks per game through a combination of a stout defensive line and tight man coverage in the secondary. Florida State is the only opponent that has elected to challenge Miami with man coverage.
Steele cautioned that Clemson cannot base its approach solely on pressure, suggesting those who live by the sword "die by it, too."
But the coaching joust promises to be entertaining, and Steele acknowledged keeping long hours in preparation for Whipple's comprehensive package.
"Coming to work this morning, I passed myself going home," Steele said.