Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris with an update on Andre Ellington's hamstring, who the starter at left guard is and an early look at Florida State.


How special is it to beat a guy who's been kind of a mentor to you with your offense?
Morris: Every win is special. Every win is always great to win. It wasn't like I was playing against Gus or Gus was playing against me, as far as us out there together. There are so many things that are so common, the paths of how everybody got to where they were. I think that was special. To come away with a win, that was always great. I've said it before, last week, during that four-hour time, five-hour time on Saturday, I was his enemy. He was my enemy. It was a great win. It was. It was great to get a win against the defending national champions, regardless who was on the other side.

"Overall, I thought we were showing, as the game wore on, we got a little stronger. That was a plus, to be able to run the ball late in the game. To be able to run effectively, to be able to run nine minutes and 30-something seconds off the clock, I thought that was huge."

How did the offensive line look?
Morris: The o-line, they had a better week. They did. They had a lot better week. After looking at them, still had some missed assignments. Still had some times we needed to be a little bit more physical and we weren't. Overall, I thought we were showing, as the game wore on, we got a little stronger. That was a plus, to be able to run the ball late in the game. To be able to run effectively, to be able to run nine minutes and 30-something seconds off the clock, I thought that was huge. I don't know how many first-downs we had, but we had quite a few. That was good to see. Was it better than last week? Absolutely. Are we excited, happy and ready to say this is the next group of hogs, from back in the hold days? They're not there yet, but they're working hard and they're taking great pride in it. They're taking great pride in holding each other accountable.

Might you have more depth there than you thought?
Morris: We had to. Brandon Thomas, I thought Brandon stepped up and he played, because he had to. When he stepped on the field, my exact words to him: "It's time for you to grow up now. We're trying to force you to have to grow up during practice. You've got to grow up when people are counting on you." And he did a better job. Still, he missed a few things, as we all did, but I think he's definite proven himself in a live situation -- what he's capable of doing.

What do you think of Tajh's progression through three games?
Morris: I think you look at Tajh, y'all see it as well as I do. He's maturing. I keep going back and I keep saying the same thing. We talk about it all the time. It is an honor to play football at Clemson. It's an honor to be the quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. We talk about it daily. I tell him to never forget that. He's got to continue to grow up. He's got to continue to make good decisions with the football -- play within your athletic ability. That's one of the things I talk to him about. Just play within your means. I think you've seen him do that. I thought he was definitely feeling it Saturday, and making some really good decisions with the football. I'm proud to see that from someone. You always hope those things happen for guys that work hard. He really worked hard this summer and took a lot of pride in it.

Receivers seemed to be a little more physical Saturday...
Morris: It goes back to what we were saying last week this time. It wasn't just the offensive line that we were challenging, it was the entire unit, from wide receivers all the way to the quarterback. We challenged Tajh to take more ownership of the football team. They were. You're exactly right they were a lot more physical. Still not where we want to be. We're going to pat them on the back and tell them they did a good job. Boy, we left a lot of things out there that we shouldn't have. We've got to make sure that we continue to play physical. We've got to play more physical at our wide receiver position. You did see some guys starting to buy in a little bit. What causes that? They'll know they're going to stand over beside me. If they're not going to block, they're going to stand. You'll see some guys that are going to take pride in it. Once you get that attitude and keep on working to get there, it's only going to continue to get better.

Florida State cornerback Greg Reid plays a big-part in the Seminole secondary.
As many of good defenders as you guys have seen already, is Florida State another step up in quality?
Morris: First of all, it's the first conference game. They came out and started the season in the top-5. I definitely think they're a top-5 football team, without a doubt. I think they're very talented. There's no question how physical they played against Oklahoma. I think this is going to be our biggest task, without a doubt. Of course, it's the only game we're playing this week, so it's the biggest game we're playing. I definitely believe those guys do a great job. We'll have our hands full with them. Again, it goes back to what we keep talking about over and over. We've got to worry about ourselves as well. We've got to continue to get better.

How much of a concern is Ellington's hamstring? What did you think of Bellamy and Howard?
Morris: Andre tweaked his hamstring. I think he'll be ready to go Saturday. He'll probably be ready to work out Tuesday of this week. We're going to hold him today, but I think he'll be ready to roll. He felt really good today. I think it was more precautionary than anything. I was proud to see the way D.J. stepped in and took over. He made some really good runs. He's got to get better at carrying the football, as far as protecting the football. The ball is carried too loose. It's something that we've got to continue to harp on, and hold him accountable. Mike, we're trying to grow Mike along and bring him along. He's , obviously, a phenomenal athlete. He's a young man that has got to continue to dive in the playbook. He's got to understand what we're asking of him, and expand on being more than just a role player. I was proud to see the way he did step up. He fumbled the football, the one fumble we had last week. I felt like we were at least going to get a field goal out of that. Again, just stressing how important ball security is.

Tempo against Auburn?
Morris: I thought our tempo was good. There was a few, couple of serious that I was a little disappointed in. I thought we could have got, maybe, three or four more snaps out of it. We snapped the ball 92 times, had three penalties and we had two 3-and-outs to start the game. If you don't have those 3-and-outs, you're looking at close to 100 snaps. I was glad to see that. I thought our tempo was good. They're starting to grasp what I'm asking of them.

Final possession against Auburn...
Morris: I think it just shows that they took on a big challenge last week, the challenge that we put in front of them, to get better. It was more so worrying about ourselves than anybody else. We've got to do what we do. We've got to practice more physical, play more physical and have a different approach. I think you saw that late in the game. I think you saw that our tempo, the fact that we were being able to withstand them. We had a seven-play drive prior to that in the fourth quarter. We had the ball most of the fourth quarter. I think that says something about these guys, maturing and buying in to it. Top Stories