Mondays with Morris

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Chad Morris reflects on the N.C. State win and takes a look ahead to the South Carolina game.

Was Saturday as well as you guys have played and executed on your side of the ball since you've been here?
Morris: I think there were definitely some things we could have done a lot better, after watching the film. I think, early on, we didn't do a very good job up front, as far as picking up their movement. We picked it up later in the game, but early in the game, I felt we were very sloppy with our steps, in picking up their defensive line movements. As the game went, we got better in that regard. Our pass protection has been very, I don't want to say great, it's been good. It's getting better each week. It's been very efficient in giving Tajh a chance to throw the football. I've been pleased with that, with our offensive line.

I thought our running backs, I thought Andre ran inspired. I thought that was as strong a running as I've seen him. Hot Rod continues to come in and give us the extra boost, to take a little pressure off of Andre. Tajh is running the ball extremely effective, with a lot of great confidence right now. That's something that he didn't do last year. I think it's really helped his overall game.

From a wide receiver standpoint, I thought Nuk -- it wasn't his best game. It wasn't Sammy's best game. I thought those two guys didn't play up to their capability. They need to step it up a little bit more. I'm going to challenge those guys this week. Adam Humphries continues to come in and be just solid. He's consistent. Jaron Brown is playing efficient. He's playing effective and really physical out on the edge for us.

Those are some things, as you're summing it up. You say, ‘Well, coach, you had 750 yards of offense.' And we did, but there's still so many more that we left out there. We had so many other things we can do to get better. I haven't seen our players today, but when we see them after a while, we're not going to hand out Rice crispy treats or anything like that. We'll pat them on the back, yeah, OK. But we've got to get better. In the same sense, we've got to move forward. We've got a great opponent ahead of us that we've got to prepare. They'll see it.

What do they do different than Florida State, what they do with their front four?
Morris: It's kind of hard to say. Florida State, they did a lot more movement. South Carolina hasn't quite moved their guys as much, as what we've seen over the last few weeks. But they've, for the most part, a base four-down team, where Florida State played two safeties deep with man underneath it. They're playing one safety deep a lot of the time, with the extra hat in the box. That's what they're trying to do and what they want to be. That's who they are.

Are they doing anything special with D.J. Swearinger, the safety?
Morris: Actually, they move him all over the field. He's played corner. He's played nickel/sam, he's played safety. He's put him all over the field. last few games, he's played back deep as the deep safety, just kind of letting him be that guy back there, not letting anything get deep, letting him flow to the ball.

Sometimes they'll put Clowney at tackle.
Morris: They move him around, as well. Obviously, they'll put him at defensive end. That's where his base position is. They'll put him at nose. They'll put him at tackle. When they go to their odd, they'll put him at the nose look. We've seen him, pretty much, play all across the front. There are times when they'll let him be a stand up guy. They do a good job of moving him around and trying to create mismatches with him.

What do you remember about last year's game in Columbia?
Morris: Just going back to last year and kind of reflecting back on it, as we did a week ago against State, then again this week. We went down there, had an opportunity early in the game, had a dropped touchdown, which would have really given us a lot of momentum. We knew, going in last year, they were very physical up front and very veteran in the secondary at the corners. I think that that's the biggest thing that I remember the most out of it. We had some success running the ball, at times. We had some drops, but that's about it. It wasn't a whole lot pretty out of it, I'll tell you that. I try not to remember a whole lot about it.

Did anything about this rivalry surprise you?
Morris: Going into it last year, obviously, being new to it a year ago, just listening to everybody talk, everybody knows the significance of this game. Being a part of it and going there last year and playing, you have a better understanding, since you've been through it a year. This is a game that will affect every household in this state, even outside of this state. We all understand that. Again, I go back and say, it's about how we play. It's about how we prepare. It's about how we perform.

What was the root of the pass protection issue against South Carolina last year?
Morris: I think you had a quarterback that wasn't running the ball very effective. He was standing back there like a concrete deer. That's what he was. He was hit early. He was hit and the latter part of the year, where he wasn't playing his best ball. He'd lost his fundamentals. He'd lost his technique, and wasn't moving as well. Therefore, he was just a sitting target. It was a breakdown. It wasn't just one guy last year. There were several guys up front. We went back and looked at that video. I'm not going to sit and cry about it right now, mope around because of last year's performance. That's behind us. We flipped it on, looked at the way they lined up. We've already critiqued last year's team about it. It's time to move forward. We looked at what they did -- things that they did, that may cause us problems. This is two different teams.

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