In their Sept. 10 meeting, Georgia Tech unveiled an option play Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele had not seen on any of the game tapes.
After correcting the Tigers' scheme against the play at halftime, Clemson did not see it again - until the next-to-last drive when a reserve linebacker was inserted.
Georgia Tech quickly gashed Clemson twice with it, and Steele believes it was no coincidence. That is how Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson calls plays.
"When you study and talk to people who know coach Johnson very well, he's kind of like, "OK, the safety just made the tackle on this play for a 4-yard gain. Run the exact same play, play-action, and run the post behind it, because the corner's going to be one-on-one if the safety is going to help make that tackle,'" Steele said. "He looks for things probably a little different than other people look for it."
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Steele said Johnson offensive adaptability reminded him of Alabama coach Nick Saban's ability for adjusting secondary coverages.
"You can't be a fastball pitcher at him," Steele said. "We threw him a fastball the whole game last time, and he's got it on tape. So we've had to go back and scratch some things out, and we have to throw some curveballs and knuckleballs."
Tight window. Senior tight end Michael Palmer is on the verge of breaking the school's single-season receptions record for a tight end.
Palmer has 38 catches, two behind John McMakin (1970). Palmer broke McMakin's single-game record for catches and yards against USC with eight for 106 yards, and already holds the yards in a season mark with 439.
But Palmer is not sure he will holds those records for long given Clemson's newfound appreciation for tight ends and redshirt freshman Dwayne Allen's potential.
"It's going to be interesting to see how long I'd have them with the guy behind me," Palmer said. "I told (position) coach (Danny) Pearman I'm going to be lucky to hold onto them for one, maybe two years."
Extra points. Redshirting freshman lineman J.K. Jay, out for the season after undergoing back surgery on a herniated disc in August, had a second back surgery Tuesday and "is doing fine," coach Dabo Swinney said. Jay's return is unclear. ... If Spiller scores a touchdown against Georgia Tech, he will match the school record for consecutive games with a touchdown (13), set by back Travis Zachery from 2000-2001.