Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris talks about incorporating Mike Bellamy into the offense and provides an update on the health of several key pieces to the puzzle.


You're 1 for 5 on fourth-down, is there a consistent thing that you see with that?
Morris: Yea, we're making missed assignments. Missed assignments. That fourth-and-1, we ran it two plays earlier. I loved the call. As I told y'all Saturday, I'd do it 100 more times. You still force your guys to make a play. They still have to make a play. We had the edge sealed off. We missed two key blocks out there on the edge. You take a chance, take a gamble. I didn't come here to lay up. We came to win a ball game. That's what we felt like we had to do. Shoot, you've got to make sure you execute and they didn't execute...had a chance to put the game away right there, but we didn't. That's not the first fourth-down we've missed, too. At some point in time, you've got to look at it. We're talking a good game on the sidelines. 'Hey, coach. Let's go for it, let's go for it.' At some point in time, you've got to produce. There's no question about that. It was a joint effort. Our guys were confident. You've got to show trust in those guys, too.

"I said, when I came here in January, the one thing coach Swinney is going to have to do with me, he's going to tell me, whoa, not go. He'll never have to tell me, go, go, go, Chad."

Were there times when you sped it up and snapped the ball faster?
Morris: We tried to. I was kind of disappointed early in the game. I felt like our tempo wasn't where I wanted it to be. Tajh was getting caught up early in the game. He was reverting back a little bit and not looking at me as quickly as I wanted him to, even though we had the ball out there for 94 snaps, 86 that were recorded. We had some penalties, the time-out. We were out there for 94. You could definitely tell our tempo was effecting those guys up front. Even our offensive line was saying that.

You talk about not laying up. You certainly did that when you hit Watkins on the third-and-4 for the big touchdown. What was the thinking there?
Morris: You always want to get a feel for your players. The series prior to that, Sammy calls me over and says, 'Coach, listen. On the next third-and-medium, third-and-short, they're expecting a slant. I can get them on a double-move.' I said, 'OK.' I had already had it written down on my board and circled. I said, 'Look right here, Sammy. We're thinking alike.' It just so happened, that was it. That was definitely a credit to him. It just talks about his maturing process and being able to recognize things like that, and being able to come to a coach, you want to trust your players.

Have you ever had a true freshman suggest a play to you?
Morris: No, not like that, but I trust him.

In the past, Clemson hasn't always played to win with a lead...
Morris: I said, when I came here in January, the one thing coach Swinney is going to have to do with me, he's going to tell me, whoa, not go. He'll never have to tell me, go, go, go, Chad. He'll have to tell me, whoa, slow down. That's communication he and I will have on the sideline quite a bit, especially late in the games. Coach, I'm not going to play conservatively here, unless you want me to. We need to talk, to communicate with me. That's our offense. That's what we do.

How does Ellington feel right now?
Morris: He felt better yesterday than he did at any time last week. I think, playing in a game, stretching it out, you could definitely tell it wasn't the 100 percent Andre that we've seen. I expect him, we'll manage his reps this week, he'll work-out all week, he should be 100 percent by Saturday, without a doubt.

Mike Bellamy is still learning the offense and working his way into more playing time. (Roy Philpott)
How is Bellamy coming along?
Morris: We try to get him his package, and we try to keep growing him. It's a work in progress, a work in progress. We had him out there on one of our plays, we motion him out. He's ran the play 1,000 times in practice. He's supposed to rail up the sideline, he undercuts and we have two guys on an undercut dig route. Nuke runs one and Mike runs the other. Mike never runs that route. Those are just things you live with. You have to understand, with a young guy like that, it's a process. It is a work in progress. You try to say, 'We know where we are with him.' You just keep growing his little package and, as the season goes, hopefully he'll continue to get better with that. He definitely provides a spark on the field for us. Other things he's got to get more ingrained to. He's relying a lot on the quarterback to tell him what to do on every play. That's OK, but that eventually gets old. Tajh has got a lot of other things he's worried about. Mike is coming on. We hope to keep pushing him, keep growing him. He's working hard.

Did Tajh get banged up a little bit?
Morris: He did. He got banged up in the pocket, a high calf bruise. We'll put ice on it. He was good to go. He didn't even come in for treatment yesterday. I was expecting him to be pretty sore today. He's good, he'll be ready.

Do you expect Howard to go this week?
Morris: We do. He'll work-out today. They're going to really push him, to see how he is in cutting. I expect him to be back and ready to roll, which will be good.

Does going on the road affect the aggressive nature at all?
Morris: I don't think it does. I don't think you can look at it that way. You've got to do what you do. I know they're going to do what they do, and they've been doing it. I think we've got to keep worrying about getting better and playing more physical. That's one of the things that I keep hearing. The last time Clemson went up there, they got hit in the mouth and how quick could we get back to the bus, type of deal. That's something I know coach Swinney's going to talk to our players about, and we're going to talk about. I know they're going to play physical.

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