Hangin' with Chad

by - Senior Writer -
This Mike Bellamy fumble was one of four Clemson turnovers
This Mike Bellamy fumble was one of four Clemson turnovers

CLEMSON – Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said that last Saturday’s 31-17 loss to Georgia Tech came down to two things – at least from his point of view - turnovers and a lack of intensity on the part of the offense.

The Tigers found themselves down 24-3 at the half, got an early touchdown to start the second half but still never found the rhythm needed to overcome the deficit.

“Georgia Tech played like a team that was playing for their life," Morris said to the media Wednesday afternoon. "They had their backs against the wall. They were in a must-win situation and they played that way. I was very disappointed with our overall mentality with the way we approached things and the mistakes we were making. It was very uncharacteristic of us."

He also said that quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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has had better games this season than he did against the Jackets.

“I think, looking at Tajh and evaluating him after watching film, I think [there have been times] he's played a lot better this year, without a doubt,” Morris said. “That was kind of one of the things that stood out to me. There were times he wasn't setting his feet like it needed to be set, especially some of the throws out to the flats, the little flare routes, check downs. His feet weren't set, he was throwing side arm and the ball was sailing on him or was behind a running back. He's played a lot better, and he was disappointed, just like everybody else was. “

Morris said that the Tigers – who have outscored the opposition just 153-147 in the first half this season and 189-84 in the second half – need to get Boyd involved more in the offense at the beginnings of games.

"We've got to be able to take advantage of Tajh early and get him more involved in the running game," Morris said. “You hope that nine games in [to the season] we can open it up a little bit more. But it starts with your footwork, and I’ve been saying that since I got here.”

The Tigers turned it over four times – two interceptions and two fumbles – and Morris said that simply can’t happen.

“Turnovers, if you look at it, that's the number one thing,” he said. “We turned the ball over four times. Obviously, the last interception was more of desperation, trying to get something going. That's something we haven't done all year long, is turn the ball over. We knew that going into every game. We talk about it every day, about protecting the football, not putting the ball in jeopardy. We chart it every day. I don't care who you are, it's hard to beat a good middle school team if you turn the ball over four times. That was the number one glaring thing that came out.”

He said that mental mistakes and a lack of being able to run effectively were also reasons for the slow start.

“While we did have some positive things happening early - we took the opening drive down and went up 3-0 on it – but we had a chance to go up seven on it. The defensive back made a good play on the ball, with Jaron [Brown]. Get the ball right back. The very next series, we make two mental mistakes back-to-back. One, it was a read play, should have handed the ball off, instead threw it into the flats. We had some mental mistakes early on that we haven't had, that we haven't been making as of late, over the last few weeks. Then, all of a sudden, you've got three or four series in there and you're not moving the football as effective as you want, and they're chewing the clock up. There were just a lot of things that went into it. But there were some good things that came out. You had the ball for 21 minutes, 400 yards of offense and snapped the ball 60-something times. We've got to find a way to put it into the end zone. Turnovers were, obviously, the big, critical factor in it, and mental mistakes early on.”

Other notes from Morris

“They were bringing pressure and playing over the top of Sammy [Watkins]. I thought that they had a good scheme. It's something we've seen before. You've got to be able to - I said it all week long-run the ball early in the game, to establish what we wanted to establish. “

On not having Andre EllingtonAndre Ellington
RS Jr. Running Back
#23 5-10, 190
Moncks Corner, SC

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“I think not having Andre hurt. I think, while D.J. [Howard] and Mike [Bellamy] did a good job, you didn't have that leadership in there. But I do think, though, when we did run the ball in the second half, we were able to run it a little bit effectively. Mike did a good job. It's just been this way all year long with our young guys; you have to protect the football. It's no secret.”

On the first interception

“It's designed for a field throw, unless there was a press look on the backside, or a one-high look. The safety did roll down weak, which forced his eyes to go back to the boundary. At that point, he has his tight end as an option and he has Sammy as an option. Unless Tajh had checked him high, tapped him high to go to a fade concept, the ball should have either went to the tight end or the front pylon in the end zone.”

On the health of Ellington

“I think, going into this week, he's started working out. Did a little bit on Monday. Not just Andre, we've got to get them all healthy. I think the open week is coming at a much needed time for our players, both mentally and physically. We've got to get these guys back and back to getting them on track.”

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