La Tech Looks to Exploit Tiger Secondary

by - Correspondent -

BOISE, Idaho - Like most star quarterbacks, Louisiana Tech's Luke McCown is
perceptive enough to know a good thing when he sees it.

That's why his eyes light up when quizzed about facing Clemson's defense in
Monday's Humanitarian Bowl. Modest but matter-of-fact in his manner, McCown's
eagerness to throw against the Tigers' secondary is obvious.

"Oh yeah, definitely," he said Thursday after the Bulldogs' workout at
Broncos Stadium. "They give up a lot of points...and our strong point is
scoring points. We had six games where we scored over 40 points this year,
five in a row. We're gonna try to put up big numbers and a lot of points.

Brad Scott helps direct the Clemson practice.

"We're going to try and exploit their secondary and take what they give us."

The philosophy is simple because the matchup is obvious:

- Clemson's defense allowed 389.9 yards per game during the regular season,
226 of which came through the air. The Tigers gave up 315 total points, an
average of 28.6 per game.

- The Bulldogs averaged 313 passing yards (422 overall) and 34.7 points per
game during the regular season. McCown has thrown 28 touchdown passes.
Clemson's secondary has allowed 21.

Needless to say, defending La. Tech's McCown and his bevy of talented
receivers is a top priority for the Clemson coaching staff.

"Their running game compliments their passing game, and if you can stop that
you make them one-dimensional," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "But
when you make a team like La. Tech one-dimensional, that's their strong suit
anyway. They've got drop back, a little bit of movement, a little bit of
play-action...they've got screens to slow your pass rush down.

"They've had success against everybody, so they're going to have some success
throwing the ball against us. What you have to do is make them
one-dimensional, then throw your best shots at them defensively."

Those "best shots" will include different schemes and coverages designed to
confuse McCown, along with what Clemson hopes is a strong pass rush.

But even strong pressure doesn't figure to alter McCown's gunslinging style.

"He's a pure pocket passer," Bowden said. "He's 6-foot-4 and will stand in
there. You can hit him one or two times right in the mouth and it's not going
to phase him."

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