Offensive Shootout Expected Against Missouri

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON, SC - Given the type of offense run by both Clemson and Missouri, Saturday's shoot-out at Death Valley could elicit quite a bit of noise. And not only from the fans.

"With both defenses (having similar) styles, I think someone's band is going to be playing quickly," Bowden said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "They pressure and we pressure, there's a lot of (man-to-man) coverage involved with both teams, and both offenses are multiple formation, spread offenses that present a lot of one-on-one situations in the field. So missed tackles are big plays."

After years of option-oriented football under head coach Larry Smith, Missouri has changed courses in 2000 and put together a wide-open style much like Clemson's. New offensive coordinator Bill Cubit was brought in from Western Michigan to be the architect of the high-octane attack, which put up 50 points in its season-opening win over Western Illinois last Saturday despite only registering 303 yards of total offense.

Like Clemson, Missouri spreads the field with four or five wide receivers, hoping to create mismatches in pass coverage and/or open running lanes.

However, one advantage Missouri may hold over Clemson is its size, not only along the front line but in the backfield, as well. The visiting Tigers' offensive line outweighs Clemson's defensive front four by an average of 37 pounds (308-271) per man, while fullback Jason Lewis and tailback Zain Gilmore weigh 232 and 220, respectively.

"If they run the ball, it's because they just physically dominate us," said Bowden. "If they've got five linemen that weigh 308 pounds, plus a tight end which makes six, we'll have seven or eight guys up there. So our guys would have to miss a tackle, or their 230-pounder would have to run over our safety.

"If they can do that, they don't have to have big plays. They can just pound us and physically wear us out. That's the only way (Missouri) won't have any big plays, if they can just line up and knock us off the ball."

But Keith Adams isn't worried.

He's watched Clemson's defensive line from his linebacker spot all preseason and feels the unit is greatly improved over 1999.

"They're doing a tremendous job," Adams said. "They just have to go out and continue to try and get better each and every game. Last game the ones, twos and even the third team came in and did a pretty good job.

"They just have to keep playing hard, and if they do that good things will come."

Dan Scott is the sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at

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