Morris gets ugly and line responds


by - Senior Writer -
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CLEMSON – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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isn’t the type of coach to hold back his opinions or his thoughts, so when he thought last week that his offensive line wasn’t working hard enough, he got ugly.

And it worked.

Morris said Monday after practice that he was not only pleased with Saturday’s effort during the scrimmage in Death Valley, he thinks the past three days have been the best days of practice for a line short on experience.

“The last three days have been our best from the offensive standpoint,” Morris said. “Good things from both the 1s and the 2s. We did a lot of good things (Saturday) moving the football, made good decisions without the football. We had costly turnovers, a couple picks which were totally avoidable.

“But it was a really good start, in terms of how we get into Auburn prep, how we finished the final scrimmage. The guys have still got a long ways to go, but the last three days of practice have been their best days,” he said. “We’ve had to really challenge those guys. Almost to the point of being ugly. I hate being ugly but sometimes being nice doesn’t work.”

Morris said, however, that he will feel more comfortable when right tackle Gifford TimothyGifford Timothy
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#70 6-6, 315
Middletown, DE

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is back from meniscus surgery.

“How comfortable do I feel? I feel comfortable but in the same sense, we’ve got to have seven, eight (linemen) ready to get going,” Morris said. “A lot depends on where GIff Timothy is. It’s hard to tell right now. I feel like he’s going to be back but I don’t know if he’s going to be in a situation ready to play.”

As of Monday – and assuming Timothy isn’t back for Auburn – Morris said it would be Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 300
Spartanburg, SC

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at left tackle, backed up by Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Fr. Offensive Line
#79 6-7, 265
St. George, VA

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; David BeasleyDavid Beasley
RS So. Offensive Guard
#68 6-4, 315
Columbus, GA

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at left guard, backed up by Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS So. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 335
Chester, SC

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; Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
RS Sr. Offensive Line
#55 6-5, 285
Pelion, SC

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at center, backed up by Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 265
Mauldin, SC

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; Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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at right guard, backed up by Reid WebsterReid Webster
RS So. Offensive Tackle
#77 6-4, 295
Woodstock, GA

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; and Shaq AnthonyShaq Anthony
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#76 6-4, 275
Williamston, SC

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at right tackle, backed up by Joe GoreJoe Gore
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#73 6-6, 260
Lake Waccamaw, NC

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.

Morris said he wants to make sure he has seven or eight he feels could provide quality snaps against Auburn.

"You'd like to have a couple that you could put in there to spell some guys,” Morris said. “But in the same sense, you want to have continuity up front. And that's kind of where we are. We've got to try to find those five guys to build on that right now. The way I see this starting out is most definitely having five guys. You might be able to roll one or two in there for a series, but you can't do it at an expense. You have to feel comfortable with them."

That includes Battle, a player that Morris said has all the talent but simply isn’t ready to play more than 10 snaps in game.

That situation occurred last season with players like Timothy and Webster and Beasley, players who weren’t ready to contribute and wound up getting just a few snaps.

"Yeah. It was that. No doubt on that,” Morris said. “And they weren't ready. They did not have the maturity level with their mindset to where they thought they could be ready, to where you could trust them. You couldn't trust them. That's just one of those deals. You try to put as much pressure on them as you can in practice to stress them and strain them."

*Morris also said that he has been pleased with the improvement of receiver Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
So. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 205
Calhoun Falls, SC

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during fall camp, but that Bryant isn’t even close to unseating starter Jaron BrownJaron Brown
Gr. Wide Receiver
#18 6-2, 200
Cheraw, SC

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.

"Jaron is the guy. There's no doubt about that,” he said. “But the competition has been good for Jaron. That position right there is a bigger, more physical receiver, and it's good to see. It's made Jaron better. It really has. And it's making Martavis better. We'll create a lot of mismatches with that down the line."

That doesn’t mean, however, that Bryant will be on the sideline.

"But you talk 90 snaps in the game, Jaron's going to get 50,” he said. “Then somebody's got to get 40. Or if Jaron gets 60, somebody's got to get in there and get 30."

*Morris said that freshman running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Running Back
#24 6-2, 180
Jonesboro, AR

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is probably not a candidate to redshirt.

“Not in this offense, no,” Morris said. “You’ve got to have some other guys carrying the football.”

One of those guys will be Rod McDowell, who has earned Morris’ trust.

“Hot Rod has had as good a camp as anybody as far as the running backs,” he said. “He has excelled at pass protection and protecting the football. I told him in front of the team the other day that I trust him," Morris said. "I'm excited about Hot Rod to be able to give us some depth there."

*Morris told me he hopes he can redshirt Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
Fr. Offensive Line
#57 6-2, 285
Maryville, TN

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and Patrick DeStefanoPatrick DeStefano
Fr. Offensive Line
#71 6-4, 280
Roebuck, SC

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.

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