3-point stance: Clemson's bag of tricks

1. Clemson set school single-season records for total offense, passing offense and points scored in its first season in offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ spread attack in 2011.

The No. 14 Tigers plan to show a few new wrinkles in Saturday night’s opener against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

Morris and his assistants spent time this spring at Nevada, where they studied Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault’s famed “Pistol” offense. They also traveled to Oklahoma State, where they caught up on the Pokes’ system of “packaged plays,” which attempts to simplify an offense by combining running plays with screen passes and downfield patterns, with the quarterback deciding what to do based on what a defense shows.

Either way, Clemson’s offense figures to be even more dependent on quarterback Tajh Boyd’s decision-making this season.

2. There’s no question former Notre Dame running back Allen Pinkett used a poor choice of words in describing his alma mater’s shortcomings on a Chicago radio station on Wednesday.

While the Fighting Irish don’t need a few “bad citizens” or “criminals” to be more competitive in college football, Pinkett is correct in saying they need tougher football players. Most importantly, the Irish need more physical defenders like former stars Chris Zorich and Ned Bolcar, who put fear into opponents when they took the field.

3. Boise State will take the field Friday night at Michigan State without quarterback Kellen Moore for the first time since 2007. The Broncos, who are 73-6 under coach Chris Petersen, also lost leading rusher Doug Martin and top receiver Tyler Shoemaker.

But what the Broncos will miss most is their nine lost starters on defense (seven of which signed with NFL teams). What helped make Moore and the offense so good was a defense that got opponents off the field. Last season, the Broncos allowed only 15.9 first downs per game, 11th-fewest among FBS teams. They also allowed only a 29.8-percent conversion rate on third down, fourth-lowest in the country.