Can a Tiger Change His Stripes?
Not much was expected of Clemson heading into the 2011 season. The Tigers were coming off their first losing season since 1998, breaking in a new starting quarterback, and installing a new offense. The offense of first year coordinator Chad Morris exploded onto the national scene and crushed all preseason expectations. Speeding up the pace and finding a freshman playmaker in receiver Sammy Watkins, the Tigers scored the most touchdowns and gained the most yards in ACC play one season after finishing 10th (of 12 teams) in both categories. The drastically improved offense helped the Tigers claim their first ACC crown since 1991 and saw them climb as high as number six in the AP Poll. To get an idea of how much faster the Tigers played in 2011, I looked at home many plays they ran per conference games in each of the past four seasons. The results are summarized in the following table.