Short, sweet and to the point

CLEMSON - Chad Morris offered two keys to success against the Cajun flavored Tiger defense he'll see on New Year's Eve.

Clemson's hurry-up, no-huddle attack has a tough matchup in store when it faces the vaunted LSU defense in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Louisiana Tigers' rank eighth in the country in total defense, ninth against the run and 11th in scoring defense.

"We know what they're going to do. We've got to prepare for that and go out and execute," Morris said. "That's the key, is execution, especially when you have this many days off before a bowl, and you've got 15 practices. You try to go back and get good at what you do."

For the Tigers from South Carolina, it starts on the ground.

Clemson has run 538 run plays to 424 passing plays this season. Andre Ellington and Tajh Boyd have combined for 358 carries for 1,523 yards and 17 touchdowns.

"We're going to have to play physical football. I can tell you that," Morris said. "We're going to have to play physical. That's where it's going to start and that's where it's going to end."

Following the 27-17 loss to South Carolina, there was plenty of second-guessing Morris' game plan.

Three weeks later, he offered the following explanation to the armchair quarterbacks.

"I thought the first half of South Carolina, you had the ball 42 snaps [and] we did a great job of mixing up the run and the pass," Morris said. "You had the ball six snaps in the third quarter and 10 in the fourth quarter. Of the 10, you had four or five of the last drive of the game. Your options were limited. You had to be perfect in the second half.

"We had one three-and-out, which was the opening three-and-out of the third quarter, and never got the ball back until right there at the end of it," he added. "Then, we went down and scored a field goal out of it. So, if we had it back, I wish we probably would have taken a shot in another part of that second half.

"But, given the circumstances of that game, your options were limited."

That included keeping Ellington involved.

In the first half, Ellington rushed 11 times for 49 yards. He finished the night with 15 carries for 72 yards.

"It's hard to look back on, sure. We could have run the ball more, you bet," Morris said. "When you go three-and-out, your options are limited when you go three-and-out."

Three plays from scrimmage then a punt won't get it done against LSU.

"Their front four is as solid a group as we've played against, and they've got four more right behind them. They do a great job of rolling guys in," Morris said. "And they've got an All-American in the secondary, [Eric] Reid, a very, very talented young man that's been playing ball for them for a while."

Said Morris, It's a really talented football team on the front end. It's a great matchup." Top Stories