Suspicious porch fire investigated

CLEMSON -- Sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd and Clemson face another test in the Bud Foster defense at 6 p.m. Saturday at Virginia Tech (ESPN2). Foster's inventive, unorthodox defense has been dominant for nearly a decade, evolving to counter the spread offenses proliferating the college game.

Virginia Tech leads the ACC in total defense (231 yards per game), sacks (14) and is second in interceptions (7) -- though Tech has yet to play a power-conference opponent. Virginia Tech finished in the top six in total yardage defenses every year from 2004-09 under coordinator Foster, and as a top three scoring defense in from 2004-08.

Historically known for eight-man fronts featuring a pair versatile outside linebackers -- dubbed the whip and rover -- Foster's scheme has morphed into a defense Clemson defensive coordinator Kevin Steele says shares some traits with Gary Patterson's 4-2-5 defense at Texas Christian.

The hybrid rover linebacker has become a full-time defensive back at Virginia Tech.

What remains constant is Virginia Tech offers a stout defensive front to slow the run along with an array of blitzes and unusual coverage schemes. Boyd said some of the coverage schemes are bizarre, such as a "reverse Cover 2" with cornerbacks dropping and safeties moving toward the line of scrimmage.

He said it

"I didn't shed a tear. I didn't lose sleep over it."-- the Hokies' Foster to reporters about not being offered the Clemson head coaching job after the 2008 season.

He said it II

Clemson right tackle Landon Walker said one of his favorite memories is quieting the crowd at Miami in Clemson's overtime victory in 2009. "A championship team can take good things they do at home and go on the road and win," Walker said. Clemson was 1-4 on the road last season.

Recent converts

Clemson converted 23 of 35 third downs against Auburn and Florida State, which led to Clemson running 92 plays against Auburn and 85 against FSU. Morris notes third-down success is the key to his tempo.

Behind enemy lines

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer is using two huddles to speed up practice this week to prepare for the uptempo Clemson offense. The Hokies used the same practice approach in preparing for East Carolina.

Injury update

Punter Dawson Zimmerman (patella), receiver DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) and running back D.J. Howard (hamstring) have all been upgraded from questionable to probable by coach Dabo Swinney. RB Andre Ellington is feeling better this week than he did last week.


Former Clemson quarterback and assistant coach Mike O'Cain is now the quarterbacks coach and charged with play-calling responsibilities at Virginia Tech.