Morris: I think what you've got to try to do is move forward, re-group from a very emotional game, a very physical game. It's difficult, but you've got to do it. We've got another game left. There's not too many teams left that are playing in a championship game. We've got to pull it together. We basically have four practice left. It's what we've got before bowl season. We've got to try to get it back, and we're going to get it back. It was a very tough game, very emotional game. A lot of emotions are on it. Guys were prepared, ready to go. The outcome just didn't come out the way that we all wanted it to.
Clemson offensive coordiantor Chad Morris hopes quarterback Tajh Boyd rediscovers his confidence against Virginia Tech.
Morris: Andre [Ellington] looked like the Andre of old. He looked like he was ready. I definitely thought he was in his zone, without a doubt. I think you've got to build on that. That was a positive out of it. We didn't fumble the football. That was a positive. Those are some things that we've got to build on, got to get our confidence back, in that regard.
Bottom line, we've got to make plays. Make plays that were made earlier in the year that aren't being made right now. We turned the ball over one time. Improvement from the week before and the prior two or three weeks. Still, that's not acceptable. We can't turn the football over. With that being said, we've got to be able to make some plays and execute what we're doing.
Are the plays not being made a product of being defended? Or are you just not making the plays?
Morris: I think you look at it. Y'all saw the same thing I saw. I think Sammy [Watkins] was three or four yards behind everybody. How many times has he made that this year? How many dropped balls did we have Saturday night? You count the number of dropped balls we had Saturday night, compared to what we've had all year long, we haven't dropped many passes this year, just straight in your hands. I think that has a lot to do with it. I'm going to give them credit up front. That was as good a defense as we're going to face this year. There's a reason why they're No. 2 in the country in pass defense and No. 5 in the country in total defense. They're very athletic, very physical. I think that showed as well.
Boyd and the play by the offensive line...
Morris: What you're seeing, you're seeing Tajh [Boyd] being hurried. You're seeing him being hit. Then, you're seeing him hurrying throws when there is good protection. I think that he was hit quite a bit the other night. Some of it was on him. When there was good protection, he was really jumpy and trying to get out of the pocket. He's feeling pressure when there is no pressure. We've got to do a better job of protecting the quarterback.
Do you build his confidence with the short passes?
Morris: I think you're going to have to do some of those and look at some of that. We've got to be able to get the ball out of his hand in a quick matter, there's no doubt. Even when he does pull the ball down and run, we're not getting positive yards out of it. It's more hunkering down, look at the ground and just try to get back to the line of scrimmage, instead of find the opening and try to get some positive yards out of being flushed out of the pocket.
Has he lost confidence in his line?
Morris: I don't think he's lost confidence in his line. I just think that he's feeling a lot of pressure. And he's feeling pressure when there is no pressure. I think it's affected him. I don't think he's lost confidence. You look back on him, just as quickly as we've lost our confidence somewhere along the way over the last four weeks, as quickly as we've lost it, we can get it right back.
Explanation for final drive of first half...
Morris: The score was 17-10 and you have a minute-something left. We've seen this offense go boom, boom and go score in less time than that. If I sit back on it and just hand the ball off, try to run the clock out and get to halftime, I don't know what kind of message you're sending right there to your players. We want to be an aggressive style. We want to come at them...to me I thought there was plenty of time to work for a field goal. At least work for something.
Changes in how to trigger the offense?
Morris: I think you've to exhaust all possibilities, in that regard. I think we ran our wildcat the other night. Andre did some good things with that. Do I think it's time to pull the trigger on Tajh? No. I don't. Absolutely not. He's our quarterback. He's got us to this point. We've got to get a spark out of him. He knows that. We've got to have something to king of bring us to life and get us going a little bit, to what we had earlier in the year with him. He can do it. We've seen him do it. He's going to do it.
Do maybe you run some of those guys in there in widlcat situations?
Morris: We have to exhaust a lot of things right now.
|"Cole will always be in the mix. We've got to look at that. We've got to keep him ready, just in case."|
Is Cole in the mix?
Morris: Cole will always be in the mix. We've got to look at that. We've got to keep him ready, just in case. You have to look at those things. As far as saying Cole's going to be our starter, Cole's going to be coming in the second series, that's not the case.
The throwback play, was that supposed to go Tajh?
Morris: It was supposed to go to Tajh. Actually, Tajh undercut. The guy that covered Tajh was the defensive tackle. The three-technique. The three-technique covering him. So Tajh undercuts the three-technique. I think we hit him in the hands. If he catches it, I still think we go score. He even told me on the sidelines, 'Coach, I should have caught that ball.'
When you look at Virginia Tech on film, is it a lot better defense than you saw earlier?
Morris: I think what you're seeing right now, you're seeing a Virginia Tech team playing with a lot of confidence. I think you're seeing one of the top defenses in the league, one of the top defenses in the country. They've had to overcome some injuries. I think they're down three starters from the time we've played them, so they're having to overcome that. This is a huge game. Championship for the ACC. As bad as we hate to say it, we've got to put last week behind us and move forward. This is the postseason now. We've earned the right to play in this championship game. There's only one team that's beat them. That's us. We've got to get better. We've got to go out and perform.