By Lee Lance.
If there is one thing that every Clemson fan heard this season, too many times to want to recall, is that Clemson didn’t have an “offensive identity”. Folks, that is about to change, change drastically.
Listening to new Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris describe what football is to him, his philosophy, was like breathing a deep breath of fresh air for not just Clemson fans, but for everyone in the media room too.
If what you want is a high powered, fast paced, air it out offense then you have your man, but don’t think we won’t be seeing a power running game and tight end set, too. Morris’ offense seems to have it all, and he talked at length about it Thursday.
When the first question was asked about his scheme, Coach Morris replied like this: “We’ve got several hours here, y’all just get comfortable”.
Everyone that is a college football fan and is also familiar with the athletes that Clemson has currently, as well as those that are committed to join the team in February knows that Clemson has what it takes to make the move to the spread offense. Everything, in fact, except a spread offense coordinator.
That changed this week. Or did it? Coach Morris didn’t waste any time dispelling common misconceptions about his scheme and explaining the difference in what we can expect from Clemson next season versus other “spread” offenses.
“The number one thing…..is the misconception of the spread. Are we a spread offense? Yes we are going to spread the field”, Coach Morris said. “There are lots of teams that spread the field from sideline to sideline but there are very few teams that put stress on a defense going vertical. Not only are we going to spread the field sideline to sideline, but we are going to spread the field end zone to end zone.
Doesn’t that sound refreshing?
Coach Morris also said some things that would contradict what Clemson fans have been reading on message boards the past few weeks in regards to a spread offense and it’s use of the running back and tight ends.
Popular misconception is that the spread doesn’t really utilize much of the running game, or tight ends. That’s not exactly true either, and it sure isn’t true in Morris’ “spread”.
“We are going to run the football. No matter what league you are in, you better be able to run the football” Morris said. “You can go all the way back in my career and we are balanced”
This past season Tulsa averaged 216.92 rushing yards and 288.69 passing yards per game, good for 15th and 13th nationally respectively. With 505.62 total yards per game, the Golden Hurricane ranked 5th nationally and was 8th in scoring with 41.38 points per game.
“We’ve used the tight end quiet a bit this year” Morris added, “several of our best sets were in the tight end package”
“We are a power, physical offense. We are going to hang our hat on that.”
“We are going to take shots down the field. We are going to run the ball to set up the play action and take shots. We are going to do that by going extremely fast and we are going to control the tempo of the game”
When asked about adapting his scheme to the ACC from Conference USA where Tulsa plays, Coach Morris said something that sounded very familiar to what Coach Swinney said the day he was hired. “Football is football”
He also added “what was successful at Lake Travis(high school) for me, when we moved to Conference USA it was successful there.”
Not only should Clemson fans expect to see a much faster style of offense this year, but expect also to see a lot more offense, in general. “We want to get 80+ snaps a game. A typical huddle up offense is about 60-68 snaps a game”.
To put that in perspective compared to what we are use to seeing from the Tigers, Clemson ran 798 offensive plays this past season, Chad Morris and Tulsa ran 1008.
Finishing off that thought, Morris posed a question that he had also asked Coach Swinney, “What would ten more points a game have meant to Clemson (last season)?”
The answer is simple, and every Clemson fan knows it all to well.