CLEMSON - As a self-described hobby, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele keeps a reel of trick plays he has seen through the years.
So it came as no surprise for Steele to see USC has dusted off the "Emory & Henry" formations Steve Spurrier occasionally confused opponents with while at Florida - whereby the line spreads out in huge gaps across the line of scrimmage.
"He is an innovator," Steele said. "He's a very good offensive coach and a very good play-caller. History proves that out. It's still there.
"(His) trick plays are still there. You have to prepare for everything, because we'll probably see the Wildcat. Probably going to see throwback to the quarterback or some version of it, reverse passes, wheel routes. Every kind of trick play you can draw up, go find them and bring them in and start working them so you can train their eyes so that regardless of what happens, they focus. Expect anything at any time."
The Tigers are especially leery of the unknown after Virginia produced three first-half touchdown drives a week ago using a myriad of gadget plays that capitalized on Clemson's over-aggression while playing man-to-man defense.
Steele said the noticeable difference between Spurrier's offense now and from the Florida years is the expanded volume of formations and motion-shifts, even if the receiving routes are largely the same.
"Especially after last week, they're probably drawing up a bunch of trick plays," coach Dabo Swinney said. "I would, because they all seemed to work last week.
"So we'll have to do a better job of playing assignment football and being disciplined with your eyes and covering your guy, all those type of things."
Linebacker Eric Norwood drew praise Tuesday as the top playmaker on USC's defense, but the second name off the lips of Clemson players and coaches may not be the one expected.
Most expressed respect for the production of junior defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye, whom they contend has been an equally disruptive force in recent contests.
"He reminds me a lot of our old No. 91 here, Rashaad Jackson," line coach Brad Scott said. "Same kind of quickness, is a competitor and plays hard. We'll have our hands full."
Better with age
Upon reviewing the Virginia film, meeting rooms were abuzz each time the video reached quarterback Kyle Parker's scrambling, 24-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Ford.
Parker had stepped up on the pocket and - running full steam ahead - threw a dart just before reaching the line of scrimmage.
Offensive coordinator Billy Napier rewound the play and labeled it "Brett Favre-ish," receiver Xavier Dye said. The pass was designed to free C.J. Spiller on his signature wheel route, but the Cavs had it covered.
"With Kyle, you never know what he is going to do," Ford said. "If you look at it, there's no way he's supposed to make that accurate throw with his body leaning to the right. And he flicked it back to his left like that with a sidearmed throw. I'd say that's where baseball probably comes into play."
With Clemson's 8-3 record, Swinney ranks second in the nation in wins among first-year head coaches. Oregon's Chip Kelly has nine, while Boston College's Frank Spaziani and Auburn's Gene Chizik have seven. ... Steele said he expects defensive end Da'Quan Bowers to be able to play his regular number of snaps this week. Bowers played 13 against Virginia in his first game back from sprained knee ligaments.