Kelly familiar with Pistol, says offense will help running game

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – A big focus for the Clemson offense this spring has been the installation of the Pistol formation, a new wrinkle designed to take advantage of Clemson’s athletic skill players.

One of Clemson’s skill players isn’t taking part in spring practice – 2012 signee Chad KellyChad Kelly
Fr. Quarterback
# 6-3, 205
Buffalo, NY

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won't be on campus until late next month and won't be able to work out with the coaches until August. But the quarterback out of New York feels like he already has a good Pistol foundation – he’s run it since ninth grade.

“Coach Morris told me that he was going to start running the Pistol a little more,” Kelly told TigerNet Wednesday. “And I told him I knew a little bit about it. We started using it when I was in ninth grade at my old school, and then when I was in 10th grade we got to do a little bit more with the quarterback. When I got here, my coach took a look at it and said, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ So we have done it here.”

Kelly said the formation was used as a change-up to their regular spread offense.

“We used it maybe 10 to 15 percent of the time,” he said. “We practiced it a lot. We only had about five different run plays that we used. We used the Pistol whenever we used a two-back set. We never lined the backs up together.”

Kelly said he thinks the offense will benefit Clemson’s running game.

“The first thing I like about it is that the running back already has a lane,” he said. “If you are a running back that likes to run downhill, there is no stopping you at the line of scrimmage. I know Virginia Tech ran it some and they were able to get at least two or three yards on every play. It is always downhill, and that is what we need. We [Clemson] had a lot of running plays stopping the backfield last season, instead of getting positive yards.”

Kelly said that the Pistol works great for a team that can also pass the ball.

“There are a lot of variations in the Pistol, and you can really use play-action out of it,” he said. “I saw Alabama do it some last year, and they were able to use play-action a lot. It gives the quarterback a running threat, especially if you have a guy that runs the ball. It just adds another dimension to the offense.”

Kelly is certainly a dual-threat at quarterback, and Morris told TigerNet Wednesday that as of right now, none of the backup quarterbacks- including incumbent backup Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
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#8 6-4, 200
Dublin, OH

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- are pushing starter Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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and that Kelly might have the chance to come in this fall and earn playing time.

“We have a very healthy competition at backup,” Morris said. “I wish we had the competition to push Tajh like we do in the two and three guys. Tajh needs someone to push him besides me and Coach Swinney, Right now, the way things stand, absolutely {Kelly can come in and compete and push Boyd]. We have to have a push at backup quarterback, and I think Chad could provide that.”

Kelly said he appreciated Morris’ remarks, but understands he still has a long way to go.

“That is great that he is saying that, which means he must have a little confidence in me,” Kelly said. “But I just want to come in and help this team, whether that is the backup or fifth string. My main goal is helping this team win games. Now, I am not going in with the mindset that I am going to be fifth string, because I want to be the starter. But I also know that Tajh had a great year and is a great quarterback. But maybe I can go in there and push him to be better, and he can push me, too.”

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