HERE'S THE CATCH
Returning receivers for Clemson, with 2013 stats:
WR Adam Humphries, sr.: 41 rec, 483 yards, 2 TD
WR Mike Williams, soph.: 20 rec, 316 yards, 3 TD
TE Stanton Seckinger, jr.: 21 rec, 244 yards, 4 TD
TE Jordan Leggett, soph.: 12 rec, 176 yards, 2 TD
WR Germone Hopper, soph.: 23 rec, 149 yards, 2 TD
*WR Charone Peake, jr.: 8 rec, 84 yards, TD
*-tore ACL after two games
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The caveat to Clemson's offense receiving no preseason individual accolades: nobody's quite sure who specifically will put up the big numbers.
Even the starting quarterback doesn't know, unless he's being coy.
"Nobody knows who our go-to guy is," senior Cole Stoudt said Sunday at the ACC Football Kickoff. "I honestly believe my go-to guy is everyone, because they're all at Clemson here for a reason. We can trust them all to catch the ball and make plays."
Stoudt spent his most visible day as Clemson's on-field general to date making no wild proclamations about the Tigers toppling mighty Florida State, but he was characteristically bullish on his unit's ability to thrive despite last year's departures.
"People that underestimate the Clemson offense this year are saying, oh, you lost Martavis Bryant, Sammy Watkins, Tajh Boyd and all these guys," Stoudt said. "I feel like we could possibly be better because we have more weapons.
"We have guys that ran a 4.2, a 4.3 (40-yard-dash). We have the same speed out there. We have some guys that are faster, and can catch."
Offensive coordinator Chad Morris has led the Tigers to no worse than the ACC's top two in scoring offense and total offense all three years at Clemson. Of course, that was with record-setting Boyd at the helm, which Stoudt has yet to prove.
"We're not going to ask Cole Stoudt to go out and win the game for us," Morris told local reporters Tuesday. "We are going to ask Cole Stoudt to go out and play within the system, play within the parameters, and execute what we've asked you to do. Then the wins will take care of themselves."
Stoudt's got no problem with that approach.
"I'm relaxed, I take what's there. I'm not going to try to force a ball or anything like that," Stoudt said. "I'm just going to make my reads one at a time, hit the open guy, take what's there, and just find a way to get my team in the end zone.
"We still have the same offense, same tempo, still striving for 80 plays a game, and we still have the same formula. We just have to go out and execute it."
In a script change from the 2013 summer event, when Boyd was the most popular player among reporters and linebacker Spencer Shuey was a nominal presence, Stoudt was slightly overlooked in favor of All-American defensive end Vic Beasley.
While Clemson has the tools on defense to be one of the better ones in the country - Beasley admitted he thinks it's possible Clemson ascends to No. 1 in that category - the dominant pass-rusher isn't worried about Stoudt or the offense.
"I have a lot of confidence in them," Beasley said. "I believe in Cole; he's my quarterback, so I've got to believe in him. It's in his hands."
Predictably, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles are regarded as the top offense returning in the ACC. That's fair.
What sticks to Morris is how little the outside world thinks of his cast of relative no-names who are yet to break out.
"I'm fired up every year, but I'm really excited this year. For one, people aren't giving us credit," Morris said. "I love being the underdog; it ticks me off in that regard. But that's OK. Kind of a little extra motivation for us.
"They're not giving this group any credit because they're a lot of young guys. I love it. I'm going to remind them of that every stinking day."
Even with Watkins and Bryant gone to the NFL, the Tigers still return 48 percent of their 2013 receptions and 41 percent of their yards with receivers Adam Humphries, Mike Williams and Charone Peake plus tight ends Stanton Seckinger and Jordan Leggett.
"It's not, 'oh, Sammy's not out there so we can't run this play.' We still have guys here who can run the plays we have," Stoudt said. "I feel like some people are going to be shocked by what we're going to do."
Clemson’s Cole Stoudt answers a question during a news conference Sunday at the ACC Football kickoff in Greensboro, N.C.×
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