Friday practice report with news and notes

by - Staff Writer -

CLEMSON – The Clemson Tigers held the first of two practices Friday morning on the practice fields behind Jervey and if offensive coordinator Chad Morris’ voice- or lack thereof- was any indication, it was a long day for Tiger offense.

Morris said that he has been losing his voice for the last couple of days, and that his voice is definitely an indication of the intensity of the practices thus far.

“This has been going on for the last couple of days,” Morris said. “We aren't giving these guys an inch to breathe. I mean it's time to take it to that next step and that next level and that is us pushing the tempo. I can't ask for us to be a fast tempo team and me be back there sitting around, walking slow. I have to go fast too.”

Morris said that he thinks freshman quarterback Chad KellyChad Kelly
Fr. Quarterback
#11 6-3, 210
Buffalo, NY

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had his best day of fall camp and that the competition at quarterback is good for the entire group.

“I thought Chad Kelly had his best day today,” Morris said. “There is a great drive and competition going on at that position right now. They are making each other better. He has got the tools, he is very talented. He has a desire and drive to be the best. He is making that whole room better. He is making Tajh better and Tajh is making him better because of his work ethic and drive. We need that in that room. Nobody is sitting back and getting complacent.”

Morris said that Kelly is making plays on the field despite trying to learn the offense.

“Absolutely,” he said. “He is overloaded right now with knowledge, but he is making some plays and his talent level right now makes up for a lot as well. He has great footwork and speed.”

Morris said that the plan is to redshirt Kelly, but if he were to win the backup quarterback job, there would definitely be an offensive package for him.

“Our plans are to redshirt him,” he said. “We've still got many practices to go before then. But if we don't, then absolutely you have to make a package for him. But we are still a long ways away.”

Morris has also been pleased with some of the young receivers and tight ends.

Germone HopperGermone Hopper
Fr. Wide Receiver
#5 6-0, 170
Charlotte, NC

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is having really good days and then he is having days when he is kind of hazed over,” he said. “Darrell SmithDarrell Smith
RS Jr. Tight End
#84 6-2, 245
Gadsden, AL

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is a guy that is really coming along and so is Eric Mac Lain. Eric has had two good days of being a thumper.”

Morris said that Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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was the most prized recruit that Clemson was able to recruit last year, and he fully expects him to be one of the best running backs in the country.

“I think that you when you look at Andre, you look at two things- his season last year and rushing for close to 1200 yards and not being healthy, I think that says a lot about him and his talent level and his drive,” he said. “Now that we've got him healthy, he's had a great summer. He has had a really good camp to this point and we are expecting great things out of him. I think he has a chance to be one of the best if not the best running back in the country. I am really excited about him and I know he is working on the little things that are going to make him a lot better. I think he is probably the top guy that we had that we recruited last year to definitely stay with us.”
Morris said that there is a battle brewing between D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS So. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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and Rod McDowell for the second running back spot and that hopefully freshman running back Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Running Back
#24 6-2, 180
Jonesboro, AR

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will be able to participate next week after injuring his shoulder Wednesday.

“D.J. and Hot Rod are the two guys right now that are battling,” he said. “I've been pleased with those guys. They are working every day and they are making each other better. Coach Elliot is doing a good job with those guys and really pushing those guys. Zac is still banged up and should be back here in a couple of days. He has been very limited, if any, right now.”

The Tigers will scrimmage for the first time in Death Valley tomorrow morning and Morris said he is looking for ball security first and foremost.

“Ball Security,” he said. “That's the number one thing we want to see. And, effort. We know we are going to mistakes. I want to see great tempo, effort, and just a relentless four to six seconds of all they've got on every play. That's what tomorrow's scrimmage is about.”

Andre Ellington said that he is enjoying fall camp and wants to see how far the offense has come in the first week of practice when they scrimmage tomorrow.

“I’m just looking to get execution out of the scrimmage and see all the work we have put in the last week,” Ellington said. “I can actually bounce around and enjoying practice more and I am just enjoying my teammates. It’s been fun.”

Ellington said that running out of the Pistol formation is a lot easier for him because he feel like he is a zone blocking scheme.

“We run the majority of our plays from it [the pistol],” he said. “We try to get good looks and execute from it. It is a lot easier because it is a straight-ahead feel from the offense. It makes me feel like I am in the zone when we are in the Pistol, so it’s something I am used to.”

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