Hangin' with the Chad

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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is known as an energetic and quotable coach, and Monday’s interview session with the offensive coordinator was no exception.

In fact, Morris seemed downright giddy as he talked about Clemson’s game against Auburn this weekend, and he covered plenty of ground, starting with the fact that he has watched a ton of film on Brian Van Gorder, the new defensive coordinator at Auburn.

“We’ve looked at everything. Anybody that has had any contact with him,” Morris said. “We have watched film as far as we’ve needed to go back. Watch so much, you get film crazy over it. But you had better worry about the Clemson Tigers. You can't beat yourself, you better get good at something and that has been our philosophy. Better protect the football. Yes, we have watched a lot of film and we want to put our players in a position to be successful. “

Morris said that Van Gorder – who was with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons a year ago – is good at disguising his coverages.

“I am sure he is going to mix his coverages up,” he said. “He wants to bring pressure. He will mix his coverages up, does a really good job of disguising his coverages. And they’ve probably got one of the best defensive fronts in the country. Especially those two ends they have got. They want to get you in third-and-long and get you in passing situations. “

Morris said he isn’t worried about not having suspended receiver Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
So. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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, and that he is concentrating more on the players he will have.

“It’s not about Sammy. You have to have Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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, you better have Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Sr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 195
Moncks Corner, SC

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and you better have an offensive line that’s ready to go,” he said. “You better have some skill guys out on the edge. But I feel good about that – we’ve had a good camp and it’s time for our younger guys to step up and make plays. We will be ready to go Saturday. “

One of the surprises of the Monday morning session was the fact that sophomore receiver Charone PeakeCharone Peake
So. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 200
Moore, SC

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was listed as the starter in Watkins’ spot, ahead of Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
So. Wide Receiver
#16 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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, and Morris said that was because of how much the talented Peake has progressed.

“I think his consistency in camp kind of pushed everybody over the edge,” he said. “With Charone, he was as consistent as anybody we had. Charone is probably one of the fastest players we have on the team. He and Martavis [Bryant] and Sammy are probably the three fastest. I saw Charone coming on during the middle of spring ball. Consistency is what won the job. It doesn’t mean Adam isn’t going to play – he is going to play a lot.”

Morris also said that right tackle Giff Timothy – who required right knee surgery a few weeks ago to repair a torn meniscus – should be ready to start Saturday.

“I do, I feel like he will be ready to go and be ready to start,” he said. “He worked out last week and the more the week progressed the more reps he got. He looked good – he is a little out of shape and that comes from having two weeks off. But I expect Giff to be the guy there.”

Morris said he feels confident in his offensive line, despite the inexperience.

“I am extremely confident in them. It is a mindset with those guys up front,” he said. “I feel good with those guys but until you get some live bullets flying at them you don’t know. We want that veteran leadership with Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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and Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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to step up and help those guys out. But just because we have set a starting lineup doesn’t mean it is set in stone. “

He said this year’s group is more athletic than last year’s line.

“Talent-wise, as far as athleticism and ability we are better,” he said. “We move better, which is good in a scheme like we have. But we need that cohesiveness and you earn that with playing time. But I think from an athletic standpoint we are better in that regard. They are Division 1 players and they have scholarships – it’s time to go play. I’m not going to hold their hand. But we need to have a really good week of practice this week and they’ll be ready to go.”

Morris on the importance of running the football

“Whoever you are playing, it is important to run the football. In our scheme, that is what we do. It is important to establish the run game. “

On if he has spoken with Gus Malzahn

“We talked a little bit but it was more about just sharing ideas. As far as talking about this game, no we didn’t do that.”

On Tajh Boyd

“I’m excited for Tajh. Nobody has talked about Tajh yet. I’m going to talk about him. I’m excited for him. I think Tajh has prepared himself for this. I think the ownership he has taken in this team- not only offensively, but defensively as a leader of the football team. He is a veteran now. A year ago, he was a rookie and we were talking about what he’s going to be like. He has 14 games under him and two springs and two fall camps so you expect him to be that veteran guy that manages things cool, calm and collected on the field. That’s what excites me- to watch him in a whole other element- to see how he’s going to respond. Tajh is at his best when he is having fun and on the field playing the game that he loves. “

On Boyd and adversity

“We’ve talked about it. A lot of it has to do with now you are a veteran player and some of that adversity that you faced in camp and in the fall. We put a lot of pressure on him to see how he would respond and to show that ‘hey, it’s all about the next play.’ It’s that windshield theory- it’s more important where you’re going than where you came from.”

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