When Clemson faces No. 7 Miami Saturday at Death Valley, it will not be the first time defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the top-ranked Tigers have faced the Hurricanes’ new offensive coordinator.
Rhett Lashlee was Auburn’s offensive coordinator when Clemson went to Auburn and downed those Tigers 19-13. Venables’ defense held Auburn to 262 yards that night. Auburn ran for just 87 yards, was just 3-for-17 on third down and turned the football over three times.
Clemson (3-0, 2-0 ACC) also sacked Auburn’s two quarterbacks four times.
But don’t expect the same result from Lashlee’s Miami offense this week. The Hurricanes (3-0, 2-0 ACC) lead the ACC in total (499.0 yards) and scoring offense (43.3 points) per game. They scored 47 and 52 points in their last two games against Louisville and Florida State.
Though there are still similarities in Lashlee’s offense, the differences are quite obvious, and it starts with Quarterback D’Eriq King. The graduate transfer from Houston is one of the most dangerous and dynamic football players in college football.
“The similarities are they do a great job with how structurally they set things up,” Venables said. “Systematically, they really thrive on the quarterback and the running game. He does a great job with their presentation and using their playmakers the right way. They will give you a bunch of different looks.
“He does a great job. They have been very, very successful for a good while now. He has been around great people. They have taken different influences like all of us coaches.”
Lashlee has evolved into a better coordinator than he was at Auburn. After he left Auburn at the end of the 2016 season, he went to UConn for one season and then made his way to SMU where he ran the offense there for the last two years. Miami head coach Manny Diaz hired him this past off-season to come and run his Miami offense.
“He has evolved whether its things they do in their RPO game, utilizing his personnel and things of that nature,” Venables said. “Again, some things are the same and some things, like I said, continued to evolve and is playing to their strengths now.”
Miami’s strengths on offense are King, running back Cam’Ron Harris, tight end Brevin Jordan and wide receiver Mark Pope.
“For example, the tight ends at Miami are really good players. Obviously, they are right in the thick of it, along with great skill at receiver and at running back,” Venables said. “That is without saying the quarterback. So, they have a lot of really good players at the skill positions. They are utilizing their skill set the right way.”
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