Chad Morris talks about the first practice of the spring in pads

by - Senior Writer -
Morris says that freshman running back Mike Bellamy continues to get stronger

CLEMSON – Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris has a wealth of offensive talent returning this season, but must break in a new starting tight end and three starters on the offensive line.

Saturday, he spoke with the media following a two-hour practice in Death Valley, the Tigers’ first practice in pads this spring.

Morris said he has been pleased with the retention level.

“Third day and first day in pads. Really impressed with the retention level of our players, which you would expect,” Morris said. “You would hope that would happen. Just the command that Tajh has right now is as good as it’s ever been. You can sense his confidence level. All of the players are playing with a high level of confidence right now because I’m not teaching terminology, we are teaching technique which is really going to be great this spring and it’s what we need more than anything right now.”

Morris said the freshmen are aggressive but still very raw.

“This time last year, everyone was on the same level playing field,” he said. “This year, you have some guys that are what you expect - a little above others because they have been in this system a little longer than others. Some of these true freshmen that should be at their prom right now- I love their aggression. I love their attitude. They are lost as a goose, but that’s alright; it’s what you expected. It’s our job to get them where they need to be. They think that you go through day one install and you slow down and then you don’t put day two in until four days later. You don’t do that. My deal is pushing them out of their comfort zone and letting them know that you don’t do that, and that have to do stuff above and beyond what we’re asking them to. It’s not just them; it’s all of the guys. They have to get in here and do some extra studying in the film room.”

Morris on ball security

“That’s not just with Tajh [ball security], that’s with all of them. That’s every day and every play. You can’t say it enough. Controlling the game, managing the game, moving the chains with your feet, not putting the ball in jeopardy and he has done a good job to this point. One of the things that we are really challenging him on is when you do have a bad play, don’t let it lead to three bad plays.”

On Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS So. Offensive Line
#43 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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“Obviously, I haven’t seen the film yet but just watching him over the first two days and a little bit today, I was more concerned with our overall execution of the battery of the whole offense outside of just him. I got to watch a little bit of him today. Very impressed with him. He takes a lot of pride in himself. He’s extremely smart and wants to do right. Some of the technique things, he has to continue to work on. He gets down on himself sometimes when things don’t go right. I told him that he’s going to have to learn that it’s going to take time and that’s why we’re making this move right now. I’m excited. He’s extremely athletic and tough up front. I’m excited about Tyler. I think he’s got an extremely bright future with us right there.”

On the offensive line
“I think you just have to make sure that they get coached and get the proper amount of reps and get evaluated properly. We have to get enough film study on them. I’ve been impressed with Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#67 6-5, 335
Chester, SC

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. Kalon has been working at the left guard. Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS So. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 300
Spartanburg, SC

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has been working at left tackle. They’ve been doing some good things through three days. I’m impressed with that. We’re not where we want to be, but I didn’t expect that after day three. We’re a lot further ahead of where we were this time last year because of the retention level of these guys. We are able to spend so much time on technique with them.”

On the athleticism of the offensive line
“If you ask me that in about a week, I can probably tell you better. Three days into it - the group we had last year was good in that regard –m but this bunch here seems like they move a little bit better. Is that because they’re not thinking or because they’re just truly more athletic, that I don’t know just yet. I’ve got to continue to strain them mentally to make sure that they can push through that. At the end of practice, you can tell that they are starting to get a little gassed. We had a great drill at the end where we were trying to work them and trying to mentally tax them, and when you do that you see that we aren’t nearly as physical or athletic-looking because they are in survival mode. I’ll know a whole lot better after about a week. Overall, to this point, I would say yes, we are more athletic up front. They’ve had a chance to go through an entire offseason program to get stronger. You can tell that their whole body and style has changed. They’re a lot more physical in their route running. They feel a little bit more confident in themselves. That’s what excites me. They have the chance to go through an entire offseason program and now they get to come out here and put it on the field- take what they’ve been doing in the weight room and take it to the field and play with a little bit more confidence.”

On freshman running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Athlete
# 6-2, 180
Jonesboro, AR

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“He’s got some size. We want Zac to put on a little bit more weight and he will. It will come with time and he’ll put that weight on. So, I’m excited about him.”

On Mike BellamyMike Bellamy
Fr. Running Back
#5 5-10, 175
Nocatee, FL

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“Mike has really been impressive with his retention level- not just him, but all of them. With Mike, you’re not having to teach terminology, you’re able to work on his footwork, his steps, and his ball security. He’s another one that has gotten stronger. That’s what he needed as well. That’s what impresses me is seeing these young guys take their offseason and the strength they’ve gained and bring out here to spring ball and play with a lot more confidence.”

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