Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Chad Morris talks about Sammy Watkins' injury, the turnover bug and which positions he needs better play from.


What didn't seem to be clicking on Saturday?
Morris: It's a tale of three different sections of the game, in my opinion. The first half, you have four drives, you score on two of the four. The first one being executed well, going down the field, getting up 7-0. You get the ball back -- I guess we had one series in the first quarter. You get the ball back in the second quarter, late first and ties over into the second. You go down and throw an interception. They really didn't stop us at that point. The defensive end made a good play. Tajh threw the ball low. It was what we call a landmark play. The guy made a good play. You live with those things. Those things are going to happen over the course of the game.

What's landmark?
Morris: We landmark down from the 50-yardline. When we hit a certain landmark, these are the plays we want to run. That was one of the landmark shots or landmark plays that we do, going into that game. They didn't stop us. We stopped ourselves right there.

Tajh Boyd threw for over 300 yards six times this season.
We get the ball right back. The next time we got the ball back, we go down and score again. Really executing well, things are looking good. You get the ball back with a minute to go, right at a minute or so until halftime. I thought Tajh, we were protected well, he could have sat in the pocket. He was trying to escape it early. Sammy had a drop, so we wound up punting right there. The first half, when we came in at halftime, I was trying to make sure that we didn't get frustrated with the lack of possessions that we were getting. We snapped the ball 33 times at that point. That was my big concern -- the frustration level. We can't let this go into a Georgia Tech thought process with pressing, especially a game of that magnitude.

We made a few adjustments, nothing major. Came out in the third quarter and I felt like that third quarter was as poor of energy, from our sidelines, to the way we played. It was blah. That's about as nice a word as I can say. It was just ho-hum. Very disappointed in the energy level of offense. In general, the whole sidelines, in my opinion, it was just there. I was spending the majority of my time on the sidelines when the offensive was over there, just telling them, 'We've got to play with some energy. We've got to have energy out there. Our tempo stinks. We're walking. It's just like you guys are just there.' I kept saying, we've got to pick our energy level up. Somebody's got to give us a spark. Something's got to happen that gives us a spark. That third quarter, you give up the ball twice, you give up the punt return...they score 21 points.

At that point, with 5:37 left in the third quarter, a spark hit us. It was as simple as Tajh taking off of our zone read and throwing the ball to Adam Humphries on a spot -- we call a spot out on the edge -- for an 8-yard gain. At that point, from that point forward, you saw the energy level. You saw us pick it up. It was the tale of three different sections. That was the third. It started it.

The bye week slowing things down...
Morris: I mentioned that to our players this morning, and actually mentioned that after the ball game to them. Every off week that a coach has, you get concerned, because you get into a routine, a rhythm. Everybody wants an off week. You love an off week. You re-charge your batteries, but you get out of a flow of things. We were doing things, from a tempo standpoint, from Tajh to all of them walking, standing up. We weren't getting down. It was taking us two more seconds to get down than what we normally do. That was things that we haven't done. Do you credit an off week with it? I don't know.

"We're 9-1. We wouldn't be 9-1 without the play of Tajh Boyd. We all know that. Tajh's confidence level has grown two-fold, three-fold over the course of this season. And it should. You want a quarterback with confidence. You want a quarterback with a little bit of swag about him."

Is Tajh holding on to the ball too long, not checking down?
Morris: He's not checking down, No. 1. There are several things you tie into this thing. We're 9-1. We wouldn't be 9-1 without the play of Tajh Boyd. We all know that. Tajh's confidence level has grown two-fold, three-fold over the course of this season. And it should. You want a quarterback with confidence. You want a quarterback with a little bit of swag about him. Because of the confidence level in the ball's that he's been able to complete, he's taken some additional chances. He feels like he can make every throw. He feels like he can put a ball in a Dixie Cup when they're rushing three and dropping eight. Those are the things that you learn as a young quarterback that you can't do. You take what they give you whether that's an underneath check-down, an outside throw.

How frustrating was it to have three turnovers this week?
Morris: We have turned the football over 13 times all year long. Thirteen turnovers from an offense. Seven of the 13 came in the last two weeks. How big of a concern is that? It's a huge out of every 66 attempts [rushing] is our championship caliber. From a passing standpoint, it's 33 attempts. If you've got to turn it over, that's the championship caliber. That's the target area they use in the NFL as well. We've got to protect the football. The last two weeks, we haven't done it.

How would you assess the offensive line's play?
Morris: From a pass blocking standpoint, we did really well. Tajh got hit once or twice all night long. I'm very pleased with the way we were pass blocking. From a run game standpoint, we rushed the ball for 175 yards. Should have rushed it for 250 yards. That's just me. That's my mindset. We want the fourth-and-four inches back. We've got to get better play out of our guard positions, both of them. Very non-efficient in the run game. That's calling it like it is. You can read into that whatever you want. We've got to get more efficient in that regard.

Sammy Watkins...
Morris: What I'm being told, there's a possibility later in the week. Mid-week we'll check him out. He'll be out there today. Mondays are usually non-involved days. We'll probably re-evaluate him. Middle of the week is what I'm being told.

If Watkins is limited...
Morris: Look at Adam Humphries. Adam will be the guy. That's who it is. Adam Humphries has definitely proven himself to be a top-tier guy. We probably need to get Adam on the field more -- not necessarily at that position.

To read more from Monday's interview with Morris, visit the premium message board The Valley:

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