Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Over the last two weeks, it's been a two-pronged operation for the Clemson coaching staff.



1-Focus on the next opponent on the schedule.

2-Don't look ahead to Florida State.

"You look at it as a great opportunity. "The last two weeks have been focusing on ourselves and trying to get better, really working towards that goal in practice, and trying to keep these guys from looking ahead to Florida State," Morris said. "I thought we did a real good job of that."

Both Clemson and Florida State are off to 3-0 starts and each occupies a spot among the nation's 10 best teams.

"I think now that Florida State week is here, our guys have been looking at this moment. They've been looking at this date," Morris said. "I don't think you have a problem getting them up for Florida State, or getting overly excited early in the week or anything like that. These guys have been in big games before."

Tajh Boyd, Morris' second-year starter, has, for the most part, played well in the big games.

So far this season, Boyd's off to a solid start. He's No. 22 in the country with a passing efficiency rating of 166.92.

The redshirt junior has completed 63 of 86 passes for 747 yards with six touchdowns and one interception.

"I think Tajh has played well. I think that's got to continue, obviously, we've seen that. And it should," Morris said. "He's shown -- 20 of 29 last week -- he's done a really good job of managing the game. He's got to stay that way. And that's everybody in the country -- going to say they've got to have quarterback play. That's no surprise to anybody."

THE [LACK OF] CONTINUITY UP FRONT: There are two sides to the coin. Clemson's offensive line has seen its share of bumps and bruises over the last two weeks. The front hasn't been at full strength since the second to last play of the season opener.

Right tackle Gifford Timothy injured his knee against Auburn. Left guard David Beasley injured his against Ball State. Tyler Shatley went down with a foot injury against Furman.

But the injuries have allowed backups Shaq Anthony, Ryan Norton and Kalon Davis to take plenty of critical snaps.

"I think, overall, we've gotten better because we were able to create some depth," Morris said. "We were able to get some guys some key playing time.

"But you sure would like to see those guys play as much as they can together."

Everyone is expected to be available in practice this week.

"We've got to really push those guys this week, do a great job as a coaching staff of challenging those guys in being physical," Morris said. "I think that's something that we lost a little bit of last week.

"I don't think we were quite as physical as I wanted them to be, even though we did have some guys in there that hadn't been used to playing."

BREAKING DOWN THE NOLES' D: In three games against Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest, Florida State has allowed three points.

The Seminoles are first in the country in five defensive statistical categories: rushing defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense, scoring defense and pass defense.

"They're aggressive up front. They're going to press you up. They're going to try to get in your face out on the edge and disrupt your route running, try to get pressure with their four-down guys," Morris said. "They're very well coached. It's a group, they're veterans.

"They're the same group that was out here last year that we played against. They're a year older. They're playing really well, defensively."

The mission of Morris' hurry-up, no-huddle offense is to wear down opposing defenses with tempo and a high volume of plays. But it's possible that could be a non issue for a defense as deep as Florida State's.

"They've got depth in the secondary. Their interior front in the defense, they're rotating six, seven guys in. They've got great depth," Morris said. "It allows [them] to try to keep those guys' legs fresh, especially for late in the games."

The Tigers' offensive coordinator went into more detail about the Florida State defense.

"The only thing I can say, they're pressing up a little more out on the edge. They have been in the first three opponents that they've played," Morris said. "They're trying to disrupt you, trying to play you straight across, at times, and lockdown press you, to see if you can get on press coverage. We saw that last year. They pressed us a little bit last year."

He added, "They'll bring a little bit of pressure. From the opponents they've seen at this point, they haven't had to pressure a whole lot. They're going to bring some pressure. They'll get in their odd front and their walk around guy. They'll bring pressure off that."

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