Morris tries to keep offense focused, even with large leads the norm

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Clemson’s offense is putting up points and yards in record numbers each week, and the proficiency of Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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’ group has left little doubt as to the outcome of games over the last three contests.

Virginia Tech took a 7-0 lead on the Tigers back on October 20th, and led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. However, Tigers quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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scored on a one-yard plunge early in the second quarter, and the Tigers never trailed again against the Hokies.

Five days later against Wake Forest, the Tigers were up 35-0 against Wake Forest in the second quarter in Winston-Salem and the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. Nine days later, the Tigers exploded for 42 first half points at Duke and never trailed in that contest.

Saturday against Maryland, it was more of the same as the Tigers roared out to a 28-0 lead with barely a minute elapsed in the second quarter, and Morris said afterward that perhaps his biggest challenge as a coach has been challenging players who really haven’t been challenged on the field.

He then said he has to try and keep the players from getting complacent with so many big leads.

“You try not to, you still try to pour it on and hold them accountable and demand and really strain them pretty hard on the sidelines,” Morris said after Clemson’s 45-10 victory. “But in the end, they are looking at the scoreboard, too, and we have to just do a great job of maintaining momentum and I thought we did that.”

Boyd said the Tigers’ find themselves playing against the standard that Morris has set, rather than playing against an opponent.

“Definitely. I feel like it’s always that. You’re not playing against an opponent necessarily,” Boyd said. “Coach says we play against a nameless opponent. That’s really how it is. We just have to go out and execute the game plan. Coach puts us in great situations. Sometimes you will have to create a little bit, but most of the time things are there. We just have to continue to build off of it. I’m very comfortable with the way these guys are performing, especially against a top-15 defense in the country. I think we did a pretty decent job. We just have to continue to work.”

Boyd said the offense tries to not pay too much attention to the scoreboard.

“There’s always more room for improvement,” he said. “It just drives you to go out there and score on every drive. I feel like there’s not really anybody that can stop us, but as you can see we stop ourselves sometimes. There’s more of a concentration on it. Heading into the week of practice, coaches don’t let us get complacent, not even to a point. For us, we just have to keep building and keep working.”

Morris said his game plan went out the window early against the Terrapins.

“It’s all on the way the game goes. Obviously, you have a great game plan and everything is planned out and then you get in the game and score 10 in the first quarter, then everything changes,” he said. “Things you worked on all week, things that you wanted to show, you don’t show because you don’t have to. And so you try to stay simpler and give guys good execution and just make sure you hit on the fundamentals of it.”

The Tigers had two turnovers on offense Saturday – both fumbles by Boyd – and appeared to lose their edge once they got the big lead, and Boyd said the challenge at that point is to try and stay sharp.

“That’s what we’re trying not to do. We’re trying to stay focused, remain consistent and not get sloppy,” he said. “I know coach stresses that all of the time. We just try to do what we can. I think it’s getting better. Coming out in the second half, I feel like we had a little more focus than the Wake Forest game. It has gotten better sense then.

“I think this team has matured so much. For us, it was still a pretty young offense even though it was late in the season. I think we lost our edge, lost what got us to the point that we were at. Coach does a great job reminding us. We do a great job reminding ourselves, talking amongst the team leaders. We just have to continue to build. There’s a great movement toward the future of this program and we just have to continue to work.”

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