Morris says Williams battling Bryant for playing time


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CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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said Monday morning that freshman receiver Mike WilliamsMike Williams
Fr. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 205
Vance, SC

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is pushing junior Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Jr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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for playing time at the “9” or boundary receiver position manned by DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins last season.

Hopkins was the go-to guy for quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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last season, snaring 82 passes for 1,405 yards and an amazing 18 touchdowns. He was also a big target for Boyd on third down, and Bryant has struggled with his consistency so far this season.

Bryant dropped a few passes against Georgia and was suspended for part of Saturday’s game against Wake Forest after he made inappropriate gestures following a score at N.C. State. Williams stepped in to Bryant’s spot on Saturday and caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Boyd just before the half, his only reception of the day.

Williams has four receptions for 57 yards so far this season, and Morris said Monday that Williams just needs to continue to gain confidence in order to earn more reps.

“He is playing with some great confidence right now and he is playing fast. I think he will be a great player for us in due time,” Morris said. “In playing a true freshman like that, you are going to make some mistakes, but he has to continue to push. He and Martavis have a great battle going on at that position right now. And that is good to see, because that position really needs to earn the trust of our quarterback. I don’t think our quarterback has had the trust in that position in the first couple of weeks.”

Morris said that position on the field has been marked by inconsistent play so far this season.

“Just inconsistent play. Inconsistent route running and inconsistent blocking,” he said. “That is a position that you have to be consistent and you have the confidence of your quarterback. We took a big step forward this week and that was good to see. Anytime you replace a first round draft choice, there will be inconsistency early on.”

Bryant drew rave reviews during spring practice and fall camp, but struggled in the opener against Georgia and now is being pushed by the freshman for reps.

“They are battling right now,” Morris said. “They have a good competition going right now. “I think Martavis needs it and Mike needs it. They are pushing each other pretty hard.”

On if he has coached in a place like the Carrier Dome

“Just thinking out loud – the Alamodome in San Antonio is a smaller dome, and they play basketball in that one. The fans are right on top of you there. So I guess that would probably be about as close as that one. I haven’t been up there, so I really don’t know what to compare it to.”

On what the players have to do in that kind of environment

“It’s kind of like playing in the Georgia Dome last year a couple of times. You have to get your depth perception. But it’s only an issue if we make it an issue. It’s still pitching and catching and throwing. We are not going to make excuses – we just have to go out and play. We just have to go out and perform.”


On Saturday’s performance

“We were far from perfect, I can promise you that. We made some good plays and got into a rhythm early. We still continue to make a few simple mistakes that we have to get cleared up in our run game. We had some snap issues. We gave up two sacks just by playing too soft, and we have to get that cleared up. We have to really keep pressing those guys. Kalon DavisKalon Davis
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#67 6-5, 330
Chester, SC

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is playing well, and Brandon ThomasBrandon Thomas
Gr. Offensive Line
#63 6-3, 305
Spartanburg, SC

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is playing well. Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
Gr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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- you know what you are getting out him. Ryan NortonRyan Norton
RS So. Offensive Line
#58 6-3, 270
Simpsonville, SC

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had a 102 degree fever and had to go in after the first quarter and get fluids. But we had three drops, and if you look at it Tajh should have been 20-of-24. We did plenty of good things, but don’t expect us to go around patting them on the back.”

Syracuse defense

“They play extremely hard. This team loves to pressure, they love to bring one more than you have. If they could blitz 12 they would blitz 12. They are very confident in their system. Their main objective is to try and disrupt the quarterback and bring pressure from every angle possible. They are the biggest pressure team we have faced maybe since I’ve been here, so we have to have a plan for that. They still like to move guys around and bring a lot of pressure. They are very well-coached, and we will get everything they have, I can guarantee you that.”

Rod McDowell and D.J. HowardD.J. Howard
RS Jr. Running Back
#22 5-11, 195
Lincoln, AL

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“I did see him [McDowell] this morning. He was up and walking around. It will just be a wait-and-see thing with him. D.J. Howard had his best game in well over two years; we just can’t wait two more years for him to have another game like that. He just has to put some consistency together. He had a good effort. I think he had some success early and it gave him some confidence. It wasn’t’ really a good throw – Tajh threw it to his hip – and he made a good catch.”


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