Hangin' with the Chad

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – What does a coach do to keep his players motivated when the competition is less than stellar and your offense is scoring points at a record pace?

You threaten to take their candy, of course.

Clemson’s offense is ranked in the top 10 nationally in many major categories – 7th in scoring offense (42.7 points per game), 10th in passing offense (324.4 yards per game) and 9th in the nation in total offense at 522.4 yards per game.

Offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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, always a perfectionist, challenged his offensive linemen last Wednesday, which happened to be Halloween. Four of the coaches’ sons were dressed up for the occasion and giving out candy to the team, but Morris told his offensive linemen he hoped the defense took all of the treats.

“I really challenged our offensive line on Tuesday or Wednesday, whatever day Halloween was,” Morris said during his Monday session with the media. “I really challenged them all at the end of practice. I was very disgruntled with the way we didn’t do things that I thought was just lackadaisical, really lethargic. I just didn’t sense the urgency that we needed to have. I had an opportunity to challenge them.

“It was good to see. I told them I could care less if anybody got any trick or treat candy that night. In fact, the coaches’ kids were out there trick-or-treating with the players. I told them I hoped the defensive kids took all the candy, because they didn’t deserve any that day. It was just a challenge to get those guys something to get them going, because we’re going to need that. We’re going to need that over the final 19 days that we have.”

Morris said that he told the offensive line that he was going to run the football Saturday against Duke, even if it meant three-and-outs, and he felt like they responded.

“I told them at that point, we’re going to run the football Saturday night. We’re going to start out running the football Saturday night and we’re going to put it on you guys,” he said. “If we go three-and-out, we’re going to go three-and-out because we ran the ball three-straight times and I would be very disappointed when they go to the sidelines, if that was the case. They responded.”

The Tigers put up 56 points on the Blue Devils and were able to play a lot of players, including all of the offensive linemen that made the trip.

“I thought they did really well. I was very pleased with the progress of some of those guys that we’ve really tried to push,” Morris said. “Some of those guys that have been battling on second team - Isaiah BattleIsaiah Battle
Fr. Offensive Tackle
#79 6-6, 280
St. George, VA

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, for example. Isaiah, I thought he played exceptionally well, very athletic, very physical. That was really good to see. Our challenge to him now is he’s got to remain consistent. From that maturity level, he’s got to continue to grow, grow up and mature, take this as a step in the right direction for him.

“He’s got to remain consistent. That’s a big challenge for him, as well. Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS So. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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was probably the next one in that line of being a pleasant surprise. Kalon Davis was one of them that was good to see. Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS Fr. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Mauldin, SC

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has gotten in. He played quite a bit. Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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has played exceptionally well. Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
RS Jr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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probably had his best game. You see that as a collective group, we need that. We need that for this final push.”

On Eric Mac LainEric Mac Lain
RS Fr. Tight End
#88 6-4, 260
Hope Mills, NC

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getting in at tackle

“I don’t know the exact snap count on it, but he did play some. He did a good job. He’s got a lot of fundamentals, a lot of technique that he’s got to continue to work on, and he knows it. He’s getting a lot of reps in practice. I think he’s definitely going to be a very good ball player for us.”

On facing Maryland’s defense

“With Maryland, you’re talking about a defense that’s the second-best defense we’ve seen to this point in time. Obviously, Florida State, because we played them, that’s the best defense. Of course, we’ll gauge all that afterwards. But this is one of the top defenses in the country. They’re ranked 11th in the country. Their scheme is very sound, and we’ve got our hands full. I don’t know anything about the other side of the ball, because I don’t watch that side. But I do know this side of the ball we’ve got our hands full. They’ve got some very good players. Their defensive front is as sound as we’ve seen in quite some time, so we’ve got our hands full right there. They’re going to give you different looks. They’re going to bring a lot of pressure. Their defensive front is sound, they’re strong, and they’re big. They’re going to mix up their coverages behind and try to disguise that. They’ve got a new coordinator. Their scheme is extremely sound in what they do. He’s done a really good job, a really good job. We’ve got our hands full with them.”

On the play of the Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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“Tajh is a guy, he’s having fun. I think that’s No. 1. He’s having fun. And a guy that has that much pressure on you, as being a quarterback, because I’ve said it since I got here. It’s a big deal to be quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. And we want it to be a big deal. With that comes pressure. He and I had a long talk at the start - I don’t remember what day it was. We were riding to practice together. We just kind of talked about, do you feel like you have to be perfect, sometimes we all feel like we have to be perfect and we don’t. I feel like that sometimes, you feel like you have to call the perfect game, you have to be perfect, and it’s not going to happen. At some point, you’ve got to go have fun. I really talked to him about that. I think you see Tajh Boyd having fun. I think he’s extremely accurate on his deep ball. We work on that a lot. He’s confident in what he’s doing and he’s running confident. I told him he actually kind of looks fast. He said he was fast.”

On the injuries to Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
So. Quarterback
#8 6-5, 205
Dublin, OH

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

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“He [Stoudt] was in meetings today. We’re going to reevaluate him this afternoon. I think he could get out there and hand the ball off. I don’t know. I haven’t seen him throw a ball yet. I know he was in a lot of pain after the game, so we’ll see. I think, the one thing with Andre, as the game went, that’s one thing we kept talking about. Could he get in and play, if we felt like we had to have him? We felt like he could. But there was no sense in pressing the issue. I’m very proud of those guys that got in behind him, D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS So. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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and Hot Rod McDowell, those guys to be able to step in and absorb the role. It was kind of a running back by committee. You saw them coming in and out, rotating around. That was good to see. Zac BrooksZac Brooks
Fr. Running Back
#24 6-1, 185
Jonesboro, AR

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, I mentioned him a little bit earlier, a pleasant surprise to see him. He’s only going to get better. He’s bigger, stronger as the year goes, looking forward to his future.”

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