By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- Our Clemson Tigers are leading the nation in number of snaps with 626, when members of the media asked Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris about the success of his offense on Monday, following the Tigers 59-38 victory over North Carolina, he noted that communication during a game is key, which is the main reason why he chooses to coach from the sidelines instead of from the press box.
When Clemson’s offense was struggling earlier this season, Coach Morris promised the media that he had a lot more up his sleeves, and that the offense had a lot more potential than what Clemson fans saw against Wofford and Troy.
“You’re starting to see a little bit of that now as they get more comfortable,” Morris said. “But as a coach you’ve got to be careful and that’s what I told our offensive staff, you’ve got to be careful coming in and thinking that just since we’re mastering something and the guys are grasping something and doing what you’re asking them to do, that it’s only human nature as a coach to try and keep adding and that’s one of the worst things we can do right now. We’re playing with confidence, have answers to different things that defenses do to us, we can’t confuse our guys. “
Morris doesn’t want his guys to think too much when they’re on the field, because when they think they’re not reacting and their playing slower than he would like.
“This offense is built around speed and being physical and we just can’t have our guys playing slow,” Morris said. “We’re at about 70% into our offense, but that’s okay we’re probably not going to get it all in this year and that’s fine. We just have to get great at what we’re doing.”
What Morris continues to see from his players though is a confidence and a willing to learn.
“They are very hungry and continue to want to learn more and more of this offense,” Morris said. “They’re getting to the point right now where when they step on a field for a drive and have to punt it, they come off upset, want to know what happened. When you start seeing that, and they ask you what they did wrong, that’s what you want. You want them to play with that kind of confidence, and that type of disappointment when they’re not scoring.”
With the success that they continue to have, Morris and his offense continue to try and push the limits, knowing that they lead the nation in snap total, which is one of their goals for this explosive offense.
“We’re a second half football team right now,” Morris said. “And a lot of that has to do with the tempo we’re e putting on them in the first half. We snapped the ball 48 times against UNC and the players were coming up to us at halftime and telling us Coach we feel like we have them gassed right now.”
Morris enjoys being able to communicate with his players on the sidelines and during the half. He feels like it’s the players’ growing confidence that allows them to feel like they can approach him on the sidelines and tell him what they’re seeing on the field and what they believe would work.
“We have to have that, that goes back to me coaching high school football, if you can’t have that kind of relationship with players were we as staff to be able to coach them hard and get on them and at least be able to come talk and have open lines of communication with us, that’s what you strive for as a coach,” Morris said. “It’s the same with parenting, you hope your kids will talk to you about things, you want that out of your players too. You develop a trust with your players, and when I came in at half time, and I made an awful call before halftime and asked the players if they had my back and all of them did. When they see that I make mistakes too, if I’m going to coach them hard, they’ve got to see that I love them too.”
Who gives him the most enlightening confession coming off the field?
“Oh they all do, you know every receiver comes off the field saying that they’re open which in a lot of situations they are,” Morris said. “But I mostly listen to Tajh, Dwayne and our o-line men are saying, and sometimes the receivers as well.”
As for Sammy Watkins who has quickly become one of the main targets of Tajh Boyd’s’, Morris couldn’t be more pleased.
“Sammy brings so much to the table, in his overall attitude and personality on the field, his ability to take the top off of it when he’s out there in any type of 1 on 1 matchup,” Morris said. “Teams that do double him leave someone else open, whether it’s Nuk, DA, Jaron Brown. Him being out there just adds another dimension to the offense and pushing the field vertically. You see Sammy on the field, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a true freshman or veteran, you see him communicating with them and if something isn’t going right, you can see him out there getting after a guy. These guys push each other which is so good to see.”
After spring practice, it wasn’t difficult to notice that Morris had some reservations about Tajh Boyd being his starting quarterback, telling Boyd that if he wanted to lead this team then he’d have to put in a lot of time during the summer. Boyd is now one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, even being as high as 6th in the Heisman watch, what has Morris seen out of his quarterback thus far?
“Tajh is a perfectionist, wants to please. When he knows I’m down on him, he’s always trying to figure out how to get right,” Morris said. “What you’re seeing with Tajh is that he took what I said to him after spring practice to heart and put in work over the summer not just memorizing our offense but learning it. He spent every moment he could up here because it was important to him. It’s an honor to be quarterback at Clemson, not something you earn and he saw that. It didn’t take me long into fall camp to realize that he put in a lot of time. I took responsibility for him in the Maryland game in the first quarter. Maybe I didn’t prepare him like I should have and paid attention to the small details. I told him that was on me, but North Carolina is on him. I told him that he was going to have the best week of practice so far, paying attention to small details and he did. I told him this morning that it doesn’t change this week. What can he do to get better? He has to pick up his hots a little bit better; he had a sack on him both against UNC and Maryland. He can always improve on footwork, he’s doing a good job at pulling the ball down and making plays when everything breaks down around him. I’ve got to continue to coach him harder and demand more out of him. But what I want is for him to demand more out of the players around him.”
Communication is the main reason why Morris likes to coach from the sidelines instead of from a press box.
“They’ve got to be able to see the urgency in my eyes and my tone of voice, they’ve got to see that,” Morris said. “I’ve always been on the field and it’s not going to change.”