Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris recaps the Wake Forest win and looks ahead to the Duke game.



Sammy said he felt his best game came on the heels of his best practice and that you had to change the way he practiced.
Morris: Listening to Sammy talk about that and watching the way he's worked out to this point in time this year, he had a really good work week coming in, especially off the open week, trying to get some routine, trying to get his body into playing shape, get into a rhythm. I think that's something that he's been missing.

When you're really prepared all during fall camp and you knew that you weren't going to get to play the first two weeks, you couldn't get into a rhythm. Then, he gets sick. There wasn't really, it was just hard to get into that playing shape. I think that was one of the things that we really challenged him on, was just trying to practice harder, to speed that process up. I think he really bear down on himself last week when we bear down on him. It was more so him just kind of taking note and bearing down on himself. We're very proud of the game that he had, but we've all kind of come to expect that every game out of him. When that doesn't happen, everybody's wanting to know what's wrong with Sammy.

He also said he felt like this really might be the first time you've opened up the playbook and taken some shots.
Morris: It is. I just felt like that we had to be aggressive, maybe a little more aggressive than what we've been in the past, the past week or so. Having him in 100 percent playing shape and having Nuk, we all know what Nuk has done this year. When you look back at it, we're at our best when we're spreading the ball all over the field. I think we had 16 different people touch the ball the other night. That's just a tribute to those guys executing this system. I was pleased with that. But, yeah, we were definitely a little more aggressive.

Was there anything that Wake Forest was doing that gave y'all trouble running the football in between the tackles?
Morris: There was. They were definitely loading the box up on us. We wanted to come out and try to establish a run game, get Andre going. They made a decision they were going to bring two hats in the box, play some man coverage. That has been the flavor this year. When Florida State played us two-man most of the night, it's like everybody else kind of followed suit. We're seeing a lot more man and zero coverage than we anticipated we were going to see this year, with the skill guys that we have. When that happens and they're going to stop the run, you're forced to hit some balls over the top. You've got to be able to throw the football in your crossing games and be able to hit those. I thought we did that the other night. But they were definitely going to take away the run.

How would you evaluate the line?
Morris: I thought we played OK. OK. I thought we could have definitely played a lot better. I was very disappointed that we were unable to get any run game. I attribute that a lot, they had some extra guys in the box. So what? We need to be able to establish more of a run game. I took some pressure off those guys with throwing the ball. We're going to do what we have to do to be successful. Even though there were times when they didn't have extra hats in the box, we still weren't knocking them off the ball like we need to. We've got to get that going. I can promise you, that's one thing that we're going to work on and continue to work on. We work on it every week. It's like a broken record. We work on it every week. Until we can get the competition that we need to get to push those guys up front, I'm going to be saying this next week, too.

How about Sam Cooper?
Morris: Sam is a guy that has earned a lot of people's trust. He's playing physical. I'm very proud of Sam. He made a great catch the other night. He's playing a lot more physical, a lot more confident in himself. I'm glad to see that. You're going to see a lot more of Sam Cooper. I think he's earned that. Again, maybe it'll spur Brandon Ford on a little bit. We've got a good competition, a good battle going on there. I'm proud of Sam and really excited to see him grown and come into his own. I told him the other day how proud I was of him. For him to catch that ball the other night, that was a tough catch.

How do you think you can get Andre [Ellington] outside the tackles more?
Morris: We felt like we did the other night. We tried that with some of our outside zone schemes. Actually had a couple, we slipped on a couple of them. We did some of our zone read stuff getting him outside of the box, just trying to get him going, get him loose.

What are your impressions of Duke?
Morris: Very well coached, very sound. They're a 4-2-5. They too play a lot of man and zero coverage. They did that against Florida State last week. They may play as much zero and cover-one as anybody we've seen this year. They like to bring a lot of pressure when they do that. They want to bring more than you can block, so we're going to have to work on getting the ball out of our hands when that happens. When people do that to you and they press you up, you've got to be able to take some shots over the top. That's what Florida State did. They hit some big plays on them. They're very well coached and sound in everything they do, in their alignments. They play extremely hard. I know, last year they had some injuries. One of the defensive ends was injured. I think he played four games last year. Before he went out, he was leading the ACC in sacks. You're going to see a group play extremely hard in front of their home crowd, a night game. We've definitely got our work cut out for us.

What percentage of your offense do you have installed and are using?
Morris: We're up there. We are. We're up there. Obviously, getting Tajh more involved has really helped kind of push us over the edge a little bit. I wouldn't see we have it all in, but we're 85 percent or so. The thing that I'm excited about, you're watching Tajh and he's becoming more and more confident in running the ball. Obviously, he had a great night throwing the other night. When you see him running the ball, he's running with some attitude. He's running with some authority and behind his pad level. That's something that you didn't see last year. He was real hesitant. I'm really excited about where the direction that we're going with him in our run game.

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