Morris says foundation set for something special at Clemson

by - Senior Writer -
Morris said that he was influenced heavily by Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

Thursday's press conference audio (WMA Format)

CLEMSON – Spend a few minutes with Chad Morris, and it’s not hard to understand why young men want to play for him.

Morris was introduced as Clemson’s new offensive coordinator on Thursday, and it was evident during the short interview session that he brings a lot of energy and excitement to his job. He even had new defensive line coach Marion Hobby ready to don a uniform and “play a little tight end.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said that when he was looking for someone to replace former coordinator Billy Napier, he kept coming back to what Morris accomplished in one season at Tulsa.

Swinney was quick to point that Tulsa scored 64 touchdowns in 2010 – 32 through the air and 32 on the ground – and that Morris’ offense was fifth in the nation in red zone success.

Morris said that he was influenced heavily by Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, and that he wants the offense to function at a quick pace. The goal is to run at least 80 snaps per game.

Last season, Tulsa ran 1,008 plays from scrimmage in 13 games last season, while Clemson ran just 798 in the same amount of games.

However, Morris said he didn’t want Clemson fans to have the perception that he was a “spread” guy and the usual connotation that goes along with it of spread teams being finesse teams.

“We are a power, physical football team offensively,” Morris said. “We were very balanced throughout my career. We are going to take shots down the field. You’re going to see a fast pace. You’re going to see tempo offense. More importantly, you’re going to see kids having fun. We’re fixing to have a lot of fun.”

Morris didn’t make it too long into the interview session before he was asked his intentions regarding the head coaching job at Tulsa – he interviewed there on Tuesday – but Morris insisted throughout that he was a “Clemson Tiger.”

"I want to thank coach Swinney and coach [Terry Don] Phillips for this opportunity, to be a part of the Clemson Tiger family. I'm wearing orange. I am a Clemson Tiger. I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this family. I look forward to great things."

Morris said he interviewed for the job at Tulsa, but he and his wife Paula had made up their minds last Sunday night that Clemson was the destination for their family.

“I did have contact with them [Tulsa] in regards to the position that's open, “Morris said. “I was never offered the position. We had made our minds up Sunday night that we were going to be Clemson Tigers. Once we make a decision, we're sticking to it. Did I talk to them? The answer is yes. We did talk and we did visit in depth. But there were other applicants they visited with as well. I am a Clemson Tiger."

And now that he is a Clemson Tiger, he will go about the job of installing his offense and trying to change the misconception it has.

“We’re going to spread the field. A lot do that, but very few try to put stress on a team vertically,” he said. “We’re going to do that by going extremely fast and control the tempo of the game. You'll see some two-back sets and motioning into a three-back set. You'll see fast-paced, tempo offense. I can't wait to get back and work with coach Scott, coach Pearman and those guys so that we can talk some ball. I want to build relationships with our staff and our players. If players believe in you, you can line up and run the wishbone and be successful. Not that we're going to do that. I just want to create that atmosphere that we're going to have a lot of fun with this."

Morris said there were several things that drew him to Clemson, and one of them is his belief that Clemson is set to emerge as a program, saying the “table is set.”

"Knowing the brand of football in the ACC and knowing the history of Clemson and seeing the opportunity right now, it has to be a right fit on both sides,” Morris said. “It's like recruiting. What they went through offensively last year, they did some good things and we're going to build on those things. But one thing is the kids are here, the recruiting class we have coming in is unbelievable. And it's just set for success. It's laid out in front of us. It's going to take the right fit, right personality and the only way you know that is to come in and visit and spend time.

“When I flew in, my wife and I spent time with coach Swinney and his wife and family. It just didn't stop then. We continued to talk over the phone and discuss questions we both had. This was well thought-out on both sides. I think the kids are here. We may only run three offensive run plays in spring ball. And if that's all we get in, that's OK. But we're going to get really good at something. You don't trick people. You line up and you play your style of football and you get good at what you do. I think the potential here and getting to visit with coach Swinney, the sky is the limit."

And he said he thinks his scheme will run as smoothly in Clemson as it did in Texas and at Tulsa.

“We'll run the I-formation some. Football is football,” he said. “What was successful in high school, it was successful at Tulsa. The speed of the game changes, the players you play with are better so it's about making adjustments and adapting to what our kids can do. I'll study a lot of film on what they did in the past, see what they excelled at. Our scheme is very easy. The sky is the limit. These kids are going to be hungry and I promise you they'll have one of the best off-seasons they've had here."

His goal, he said, is 80-plus plays per game.

"We want to get in 80-plus plays a game,” he said. “If you look and study the prior history of a season and you can break down every touchdown and how often it's scored, you'll see that it's scored about one every 15-17 snaps. When you look back at the number of snaps that were in a game with most schools, you look at 60.

“But if we can get in 15 more snaps a game, we can increase our chances of scoring, even if's ten more points. What would 10 more points have meant to you this year? Is there a definite goal? Absolutely. 80-plus plays a game. We won't allow a defense to dictate to us. We'll dictate to defenses. Tempo is a good thing in that we'll go extremely fast and at times we'll do a quick huddle. We are going to control the tempo of the game. Sometimes it's fast. Sometimes it's slow."

He was asked if he had any specific ideas on how conditioning will go for his offensive players, Morris said he will meet the players tonight and they will begin to understand that it is going to take a lot of hard work between now and the beginning of spring practice.

“Until they get into it and halfway through the first practice when their tongues are hanging out thinking this guy is crazy,” Morris laughed. “Seriously, after we visit tonight and stress the importance of our leadership, it's going to take a lot of hard work between now and the first of March. But until they get into it, then they'll understand it'll be a lot of fun but it'll take a lot of work."

OTHER NOTES ON MORRIS: Morris said that he wants to be “who I am” and wants people to understand there is no fake in him.
“I am an approachable person, and for whatever reason kids feel comfortable around me. They feel like they can trust me. It’s not all going to be happiness camp. I am going to chew them out and get into their tails, but they will also know that at the end of the day I’m going to put my arm around them and leave them with a positive football thought. I am going to strain them and train them. We are going to tax them early. But I believe that these kids are hungry, this university is hungry and these fans are hungry for just a spark. My goal is to help create that spark and that type of atmosphere.”

*Morris said that majored in math, minored in statistics and was going to be an Actuary until he got back into football. He also said he was very detailed, has to have his ducks in a row, and that his wife Paula calls him “anal.”

*He said that he likes to coach from the sideline and not from the press box for one simple reason – he wants to be the one talking to his quarterback and offensive line. “I want to look them in the eye when they come off the field. I want to be the first one they see when they come off. I want them to look me in the eye and tell me ‘Coach, let’s run the football.’ And I want to be the one talking to my quarterback. I don’t want to have to have someone relay a message to him.”

*Morris said that Clemson will employ a lot of the strange hand signals and cards that are popping up on college sidelines, including using color codes. But he won't signal in the play. He also said that he will script the first nine plays of the game, but no further. “I’ve been calling plays for sixteen years, and play-calling is an art. The game has so many ebbs and flows, and I want to be able to adjust.”

*Speaking of adjustments, he said that being a good offensive coordinator means making adjustments in the heat of battle, and also knowing when to not change things. “In the Hawaii Bowl, we had had a touchdown dropped, and had another one bounce against the back wall. We came in at halftime, and I am sure the players expected me to scream and holler. But I went over, got a bottle of water, and told them ‘We are not going to change the plays. We are not going to fire the coaches. We are not going to bench the players. Someone just needs to go out there and execute and make a play.’ “

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Subject (Replies: 26) Author
Morris says foundation set for something special at Clemson
This guy can speak beauty!***
Re: This guy can speak beauty!***
That part about getting in their butts was a little weird
Re: That part about getting in their butts was a little weird
Re: That part about getting in their butts was a little weird
Horn says "what's wrong
Baltimore Tiger®
Re: This guy can speak beauty!***
Re: Morris says foundation set for something special at Clemson
Dabo said the same thing 2 years ago. Let's wait and see.***
Re: Dabo said the same thing 2 years ago. Let's wait and see.***
Short interview session? That must have been Morris's
Re: Morris says foundation set for something special at Clemson
I think it moved ********
Re: Easy, Big fella. ***********
I'm curious to see what defensive adjustments ...
Re: I'm curious to see what defensive adjustments ...
Re: I'm curious to see what defensive adjustments ...***
I see the sun on the horizon. Is it time to get my pump?***
Morris sounds like a great leader. Love the changes he will
Looks Good in Orange!
Charleston Tiger
HAHA! "coach Terry Don Phillips"***
Will somebody please give this guy a wikipedia page?******
This could be the start of something really great!***
i can care less what he says...

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