Morris hopes to open the playbook against the Jackets


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Watson warmed up against Wake but didn't play
Watson warmed up against Wake but didn't play

CLEMSON – Clemson’s offense is open for business.

Offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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told the media Monday that the return of quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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means he can open up an offense that has been mired in a slump in recent weeks. Watson broke a bone in his throwing hand against Louisville last month, but has been cleared to return to game action for this Saturday’s noon game at Georgia Tech.

“He was cleared to play and was available last week if needed, but got fully cleared for today. Obviously, it's coming at a good time,” Morris said Monday in the WestZone. “You have to give Cole (Stoudt) a lot of credit. He led us to four straight wins and had gotten better each week. He's a guy that's now proven and will be there. We're excited about getting Deshaun back. We know how he was playing before he got hurt and kind of what he brought to the whole dynamic of things. To get him back is good. I think we're getting a few guys back, so that's always a great thing right now considering what we've been through.”

I asked Morris if Watson would be limited – out of concern he could re-injure the hand – and Morris said no.

“We will not limit him on anything. He's ready to go and will be ready to go,” Morris said. “We hope he'll pick up where he left off. He's cleared. None. No hesitation. That's been my question - we don't want to be limited in this area or that area. We're a little over five weeks and he's been cleared. There's no holding back.”

He then said that the coaches have brought Watson along at a pace that would have him ready for the Yellow Jackets.

“He's actually practiced the last couple of weeks and we've just slowly brought him back into it and kept him in some situations to see how he can mesh with the running backs and throwing the football,” he said. “You've seen over the last two to three weeks with him practicing slowly and building it. Last week he worked out and probably took as many as three quarters of the second team snaps during the course of the week. Watching him throw the ball, he's just gotten better every day. Just the strength in his hand has kept getting better without any pain. That's probably the most important thing is that there hasn't been any pain in the hand in the last two-and-a-half to three weeks. It's just getting his strength back.”

Stoudt’s injured shoulder plus injuries on the offensive line have limited the Tigers’ offense in recent weeks, and Morris said that a return to health of Watson and center Jay GuillermoJay Guillermo
RS So. Center
#57 6-3, 314
Maryville, TN

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and possibly Charone PeakeCharone Peake
RS Jr. Wide Receiver
#19 6-3, 204
Moore, SC

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will enable him to open up a dusty playbook.

“I think what we've done is we really had to - not because of losing Deshaun but because of the circumstances we've had - is we've had to simplify a whole lot,” Morris said. “I think we're probably as simple and have been as simple over the last couple of weeks as we've ever been here - even prior to the first game against Troy with Tajh (Boyd). We've tried to simplify a lot of things for different circumstances. I did feel like that early in the year - N.C. State and North Carolina - that we were really opening it up. We were growing it to where we wanted it to be and seeing a lot of things. Losing Deshaun didn't help matters, so we did have to go back. You want him to play fast and play comfortable, so we'll see how the game planning goes but we'll definitely open some things up.”

He hopes that the threat of Watson’s running ability can add to what freshman running back Wayne GallmanWayne Gallman
RS Fr. Running Back
#9 6-1, 209
Loganville, GA

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has built over the last few weeks.

“I am. I hope that he'll add to what Wayne has already established. Wayne just keeps getting better,” Morris said. “I think we've seen that over the last couple of weeks his feel for it and his patience in setting up his blocks. You hope with Wayne and what he's been able to do and now that Deshaun is back into the rotation, I think they will help each other.”

Morris said he also hoped the offensive line will begin to regain some continuity.

“We started Reid (Webster) last week and dealt with some snap issues and we started Tyrone (Crowder) at right guard,” Morris said. “We had to make a move fairly quick to move Reid from center to guard where he's been playing and put Ryan back in there. I thought Ryan responded to the move that we made and actually played a decent game and showed some improvement. That's what you ask for when you look for a guy to respond from losing his job.”



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