Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Chad Morris insisted on Monday morning that he has a play call ready for just about any situation you can cook up.



Clemson's second-year offensive coordinator is that confident.

"I've got a play for anything you want to call," he said. "Let's do it. Fourth-and-whatever, let's go for it. That's just me."

Through five games this season, the Tiger offense ranks among the nation's best when attempting to convert on third- and fourth-down.

Clemson is 18th in the country on third-down efficiency [50.6 percent] and tied for 10th [83.4 percent] on fourth-down.

With a 45-31 lead and less than 10 minutes to play against Boston College, Clemson was presented with an inviting opportunity to put Saturday night's game away with several minutes still on the clock.

The second Clemson possession of the fourth quarter began on the Boston College 37-yardline.

First-down: Run by Andre Ellington, no gain.

Second-down: Pass from Tajh Boyd hit Adam Humphries, 9-yard gain.

Third-down: Run by Ellington, no gain.

Head coach Dabo Swinney opted to go for it on fourth-down, despite having possession inside Clemson territory. No problem, Morris thought.

Fourth-down: Run by Roderick McDowell, no gain.

Turnover on downs.

"I thought it was a great call. You've got to have confidence in your guys to go get it," Morris said. "But we didn't make it. We can't get into a rut like that. We've done too well, to this point."

Swinney's choice to go for it and Morris' play call should comfort Clemson fans -- these guys are confident in their offensive line.

"I think those guys have improved. I thought David Beasley played the best out of all of them up front [versus Boston College]," Morris said. "I did think there were some areas that we weren't physical in. But, overall, for the most point, they played well. They protected the quarterback well."

Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech enters this weekend with back-to-back losses to Miami and Middle Tennessee. The Yellow Jackets are 69th in the country in total defense and tied for 67th in scoring defense.

Big deal.

"We were playing them coming in on a two-game losing streak, too. They had lost their previous two and we roll into town and…obviously, they beat us," Morris said. "It's real similar. They lost their last two games.

"I'll tell you what we're going to get. We're going to get their absolute best."

Morris expects to see a mix of both odd and even-man fronts from the Yellow Jackets.

"We've seen them play a little bit more four-down this year than they have in the past," he said.

Hopkins' improvements…

The offseason progress of DeAndre Hopkins was much ballyhooed by the Clemson coaches. With his focus solely on football, Hopkins added weight and was named the top wide receiver during spring practice.

His improvement was evident in the season opener. Hopkins' 13 catches against Auburn set a Clemson recorded for receptions in a game.

"The first couple of games, he was really good with the ball in his hands, but was awful with the ball not in his hands," Morris said. "When we weren't throwing him the ball, he wasn't doing a whole lot.

"The big challenge to Nuk -- you've got to improve your game without the ball in your hands, become more physical and tougher. I thought he did that."

Though Hopkins caught 11 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown against Boston College, he impacted the game in other areas.

"I thought this was as well-rounded a game as he's played -- from blocking and, obviously, from a receiving standpoint," Morris said.

Where Watkins stands…

Sammy Watkins, who sat out on Saturday because of an "abdominal virus," remains a question mark for the upcoming showdown with Georgia Tech.

"He's feeling a lot better," Morris said. "That's good to hear. But I would anticipate he would be able to play.

"Again, today's Monday. I'm just the offensive coordinator. I'm not a doctor."

If Watkins is unable to play against the Yellow Jackets, Morris is confident in the players that will take place.

"We've got plenty of playmakers," Morris said. "I think we've shown that. Sammy's just one more addition to it. If you have him in the game, in the fold, he, obviously, gives you an extra weapon in there."

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