Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris gives the latest on Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington and looks ahead to this weekend's game at Maryland.


The following is an edited transcript of Monday's interview.

Boyd update...
Morris: I saw him this morning. He came in for film. He's walking, a little sore. I think, as we look at it through the course of the week and manage it out, see how things go, we hope to have him ready to go for Saturday. As of right now, it's hard to say. I know he's pretty sore right now. That's to be expected.

"You're not going to see him hobbling around like he needs to be in a wheel chair, or on crutches. He told me he was going to play."

Stoudt's performance...
Morris: I think he did a good job. He had a lot of poise. Did not have any mental errors, which was good to see. He took a sack, could have gotten rid of the ball, but it wasn't on him on that one. I thought Cole did a good job. He came in, anytime you put a kid on the field like that, on the plus 3-yardline and he gets it again on the minus 2-yardline, that's pretty tough to take your first snaps. I was pleased to see the way Cole responded. The guys' responded around him as well.

If we saw Boyd walking, would we say, 'He's banged up.'?
Morris: Probably not. You may see him walk a little slow, but I think he walks slow, to begin with. You're not going to see him hobbling around like he needs to be in a wheel chair, or on crutches. He told me he was going to play. I believe him. In the same sense, we'll see about the middle of the week where he's at, rep-wise. He's a guy that will get plenty of reps, plenty of mental reps as well, and watch a lot of film.

Is it a hip pointer?
Morris: I think it's more of a strain than it is anything. A hip pointer would obviously cause a lot more problems. I think it's more of a strain than anything. I think that, coupled with the fact that the way he fell, I think it scared him. I thought it scared everybody there. I think it really scared him. It was just kind of an awkward fall. It kind of strained him a little bit, in that regard. He's a competitor. It'll shock me if he doesn't play.

Do you get Cole some more reps with the first team this week?
Morris: No. There's no question about that. I told you last week, he gets the same amount or reps as Tajh does -- the way we do our rep system. He gets it with the twos. Early in the week, especially Monday, Tuesday, you'll see Cole get a lot. He'll get the reps with the ones and Donny [McElveen] will get the reps with the twos.

Is Tajh going to be able to practice in full on Tuesday?
Morris: I'm expecting him to at least get the majority of the reps on Tuesday, rather that just be going against our scouts and keep him out against going against our defense. It's hard to say. I know he jogged a little bit. We'll kind of go from there and see.

Dalton Freeman didn't start at center the last time Clemson travelled to Maryland. His first start came the game after the Tigers' loss at College Park in 2009.
What was the situation like on Saturday when you saw Tajh down and you had to get Cole ready?
Morris: I saw Tajh go down, saw Dwayne catch the ball, really didn't pay that much attention to it. I saw Tajh try to walk and he went back down again. Everybody went out there. I didn't go out there. I wanted to see if he'd get up. I went out there and the only thing I asked him was, 'Is it your knee?' He goes, 'No, coach. It's my hip.' I turned and told Cole, 'Let's get ready.' That was it. I didn't talk to Tajh anymore. At that point, I wanted to make sure I go over to Cole. I told him to have some fun, relax, and oh, by the way, we're throwing the football right here. He said, 'OK, coach. Let's do it.' I said, 'If it's not there, the only guy that can catch is our guy. Otherwise, throw it away. Don't put a ball in jeopardy.' I told him to relax and have some fun, get the ball to your play makers around you. I made sure he laughed and smiled at me before he
went on the field.

Might you think that you'll have to be a little cautious in your play-calling with Tajh? Or do you just do what you do?
Morris: Right now, that's hard to say. If he's 90 percent at game time, there may be some things that weigh into it. We're going to call a game to go win a game. If he can't give us the best chance to win a game, we've got to put somebody in there that will give us the best chance to win a game. We've got to be who we are, what's got us to 6-0. With that being said, absolutely. You have to look at those things and kind of weigh the options and see what best fits him.

What was your take on the offensive line, before Tajh went down?
Morris: I thought our pass protection, we did a really good job. We had a couple of mental busts, but we did a really good job in our pass protection. Our run game, it doesn't seem like we're getting our inside run game quite as effective as I want right now. A lot of that is not just on the offensive line...we've just got to continue to be more physical and push these guys to be more physical and continue to challenge them. What's great about this, they're seeing it and getting better. We've come a long way the last four weeks since we originally challenged them. While we're not where we want to be right now, we've come a long way. We've got a long way to go. They've got to continue to let us push them, let us coach them. We want to great pride in we're going to be the most physical football team on the field. We said it going into Virginia Tech. We said it last week. We're going to continue to do that. We're going to let our tempo help dictate that as well. At some point, you've got to take ownership and do it, and they have been. They're trying. They're disappointed when something is it working. I like to see the fire in their eye on the sideline when it's not working that way.

How much did Ellington practice last week?
Morris: He got little bit in on Wednesday and a little bit in on Thursday...last week he got the thigh bruise off the interception. Finally got him back Wednesday of last week. Talked to him this morning, he said, 'Coach, I'm ready to go.' I said, 'We've got to get you some reps in at practice. You've got to go, Monday through Thursday.'

How's Bellamy doing, as far as developing?
Morris: He provides a spark for us. I think everybody saw that in the second half. We've got to continue to bring Mike on. Mike is no different than everybody else. He's got to have a good day, Monday through Thursday. That's anybody.

What do you see out of Maryland this year?
Morris: They've got a new defensive coordinator. They ran a lot of their odd package last year and brought a lot of blitzes. We're seeing some of that this year. They did quite a bit of that against West Virginia. We anticipate that, some stuff we've already seen this year. They do rely a lot on their linebackers. They're very athletic. In the secondary, they're physical. They want to try to get the safeties involved in the run game. Again, they're just like we are. I'm sure they're sitting up there going, we've got to worry about ourselves.

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