Keep it simple

CLEMSON - It doesn't take long to understand the impact new offensive coordinator Chad Morris has had this spring.

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However it's not necessarily in the way you would imagine it.

Arriving in Tigertown from Tulsa in January, expectations have been high from the beginning. After all, Morris oversaw an offensive transformation in one year with the Golden Hurricane that would Mouse Davis, the creator of the old "Run and Shoot" do a double-take.

And with a new offense, particularly one that was as effective as Morris' was a season ago, you would expect it to be complicated.

You know, multiple formations, wide receivers and running backs shifting constantly and plays that require a deep breath in the huddle before being spoken.

Not so.

In fact, it's been quite the opposite through one half of spring practice and the change has been met with open arms ... by everybody involved with Clemson football.

"The less thinking that you ask to do on the field the better he can play," Morris told CUTigers after practice Monday evening. "When a kid has to think you take aggression out of him. You take the uncertainty of what's going on (out of him) and we can't have that.


"It's so much easier than last year," redshirt freshman wide out Joe Craig said. "The play call last year was like a sentence long and so you could easily get confused trying to get back up to the ball. (Roy Philpott)
"So it's my job to find out right now who is going to fold like a cheap lawn chair and who is going to understand and think a little bit on their feet."

This new style of Clemson football has naturally meant a change in terminology. And while most coaches and players have insisted that hasn't been too drastic up to this point, how plays are called and how they are sent to the huddle are substantially different compared to a year ago.

Basically, it's done in a much simpler way.

"It's so much easier than last year," redshirt freshman wide out Joe Craig said. "The play call last year was like a sentence long and so you could easily get confused trying to get back up to the ball. But Coach Morris came in with a simple offense where it's only four or five words so that makes a big difference."

Morris, who will be on the sidelines directing Clemson's offense this fall instead of in the booth, also uses a series of cards that are held up by reserve players to signal in the next play.

Through a series of numbers of colors, the play is then signaled in from the sideline to the huddle, that is, if there is one.

"It's a lot simpler," freshman running back Demont Buice said. "You can understand where he's coming from in everything that he's doing and that makes a big difference for us."

Morris admitted before stepping foot on campus he may only carry four or five running plays in his offense this fall. But he also added each play will be one that feels like second nature to every player on offense.

In other words, the plays that are called will have been called so many times the probability of having a drop-off in execution is minimal.

Oh sure, there will be some "dressing up" of sorts with different formations and motions, but the basic principles of Morris' offense are just that, basic.

And that's been a welcomed change for an offense that seemed to lack direction last year at this time.

"Everything kind of connects with everything else in this offense so it's all combined," Tajh Boyd said. "That makes it much easier to grasp the concepts of what Coach Morris is trying to do.

"I'm comfortable with it. The offense is to the point of the more you do it - because we do so many reps of the same kind of play - you feel like it's second nature. So that can only help us."


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