About seven minutes in with the ball at the S.C. State 13-yardline, the Clemson brain trust decided to go for it on fourth-down for the second time in the quarter.
On fourth-and-1 from their own 45-yardline, the Tigers converted the first attempt when Roderick McDowell picked up three yards after taking a handoff from Tajh Boyd.
Facing the same distance Boyd again handed off to McDowell, but this time he was stopped at the line of scrimmage. S.C. State took over on downs.
"I think that kind of set the tempo, kind of set the tone," Morris said. "It kind of gave everybody a bad taste. I know it gave me a bad taste in my mouth when we weren't able to convert that fourth-and-1."
Despite the 52-13 win, Morris wasn't all that pleased with the play by the two senior backs. Boyd completed 14 of 23 passes for 169 yards.
"I don't think he ever got into the flow of the game. I think every ball that he was looking to throw. He was looking to make a big ball…he wasn't taking what they gave him," Morris said.
McDowell rushed for 43 yards on eight carries.
"I don't think he had good focus, as far as when to know the situation of the game," Morris said. "Whether it was third-and-short and you catch a pass, instead of going and getting it you try to dance.
"Now, we're left with fourth-and-short or if it's fourth-and-short, going up and diving it in there, bombing it up there and getting the first down, instead of trying to shake and not converting fourth-down."
Morris added, "I didn't think we played with near the energy that we needed to play with, especially with our older guys. I didn't think we were very physical in some positions."
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. Not only did Morris get to play both of his backup quarterbacks, the Tigers' offense rolled up 512 yards on 95 plays.
And lots of young players played, too. Among those freshmen and sophomores to see significant playing time was Germone Hopper, who caught six passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.
"He played physical and that was really good to see," Morris said. "I'll make a point to that when we meet with them [Monday], to show some of his physical blocking."
Sophomore running back C.J. Davidson led the team with 63 rushing yards.
"We know what C.J. can do with the ball in his hands. We saw that Saturday. We've seen it all fall camp," Morris said. "The thing that C.J. really has to build on…is knowing what to do when the ball is not in his hands, knowing how to pass protect."
Speaking of blocking, Morris was pleased with what he saw from a number of the second-team offensive linemen.
"Isaiah Battle, I thought Isaiah played extremely physical," Morris said. "He's a guy that's gaining confidence. Still has got a long way to go. That's what we would like to have. He's taken a step in the right direction.
"Kalon Davis was a guy that stepped in the other night and played for Tyler Shatley and did a really good job, probably one of the more sound performances of our offensive line group, so excited to see him. He gives us some depth in there.
"Patrick Destefano got some playing time in there, did some good things. Jay Guillermo is another that got in and got some playing time."
Mondays with Morris
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