Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Chad Morris thinks it's only a matter of time before Sammy Watkins has his breakout performance.

Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games of the season and missed another because of an illness, has struggled to recapture the magic of his freshman year.

"He's got to become more a part of the offense, and he will," Morris said. "It's not that we're not calling plays to go to him, it's just not there right now."

Through three games, Watkins has 16 catches for 118 yards and eight rushes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Those stats are bound to see a marked improvement, right? Morris certainly believes so.

"I really think that what you're going to see, Sammy Watkins is going to start and peak at the right time," Morris said. "I think you're going to see, just when we need him most, when this offense is going to need him the most…I think that's when you're going to see him."

The Clemson coaching staff used the bye week to help improve Watkins' conditioning. Watkins, who didn't travel to Boston College because of an "abdominal virus," lost upwards of eight pounds while dealing with the illness.

"Sammy's a guy -- right now -- he hasn't gotten into the mix of the season…he hasn't gotten into the flow of the season, therefore he's not in game shape," Morris said.

He added, "[Watkins is] not quite at that in-shape level that he needs to be at, or was."

Offensive line evaluation…

Even with a largely young and inexperienced offensive line, Morris didn't temper his expectations for the group.

Through six games, he's relatively pleased.

"I think there's been some improvement," Morris said. "Kind of going into fall camp, the inconsistency at left guard…there just hasn't been the consistency that we need."

Same goes for right tackle.

"We just haven't had the consistency there that we need," Morris said. "One week, against Florida State, Giff Timothy was one of our better offensive linemen, played very well. Then, we go up to Boston College, and he doesn't play very well at all…the competition behind him is not where it needs to be."

Dalton Freeman, Brandon Thomas and Tyler Shatley received praise for their work. When asked to grade his position groups, Morris put the trio in the "B to B+ category."

Changes in Blacksburg…

Clemson and Virginia Tech met twice in 2011.

The first, which Clemson won, 23-3, saw the Tigers rush for 119 yards with two scores and throw for 204 yards and a touchdown.

In round two, also known as the ACC Championship game, Clemson won, 38-10. Morris' offense piled up 217 yards and two scores on the ground and 240 yards with three touchdowns through the air.

"They're playing a lot more man coverage than they did last year," Morris said. "Even though they played a lot of man against us, at times, but you're seeing a lot of that right now. They have done that most of the year. I would anticipate that they're not going to change for us."

Though the Hokies have stumbled to a 4-3 start this season, Morris has plenty of respect for the Virginia Tech program.

"They've got a program there, they're well established," he said. "They're known for their toughness, the way that they play, relentless effort, and that's what you saw Saturday when you flipped the film on." Top Stories