Morris preaching ball security as spring camp draws to a close

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Morris wants Boyd to learn to take care of the football at all times
Morris wants Boyd to learn to take care of the football at all times

CLEMSON – Ball security.

New offensive coordinator Chad Morris has addressed that topic – and the Tigers’ lack of the same – several times this spring, and head coach Dabo Swinney mentioned earlier that he was concerned about the number of “jeopardies” that his quarterbacks have shown.

A “jeopardy” is when a player doesn’t take care of the football or puts it in a dangerous position, and Morris said following Saturday’s scrimmage that his offense has made tremendous strides, but ball security is something he is still having to stress.

Morris said that quarterback Tajh Boyd Tajh Boyd
6-1, 230
Hampton, VA
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has to understand that with the number of playmakers the Tigers have – and will have in the fall – he just needs to take care of the football and get the ball into the hands of those playmakers.

“He is learning about ball security, especially in the red zone,” Morris said following Saturday’s scrimmage. “Don’t take a sack, don’t put the ball in jeopardy. He’s got plenty of playmakers around him, just don’t put us in a bad situation. Those are the things he needs to concentrate on and get better at, and he will. He has gotten better.

“I’ve been really impressed with his ability to make reads, and he has run the football really well. There have been some really good things that we have seen. But we really need to work on protecting the football, and that’s not just Tajh. That’s everybody. We have to eliminate turnovers, and I’ve said that from the first day. “

Morris said that he has been pleased with Boyd’s progress.

“Tajh is doing a good job. He's growing,” Morris said. “He's learning. The thing about Tajh is that he just tries so hard. I have to stress to him that he doesn't have to score on every play. Every play isn't designed to score. But he just wants to make a play on every play. It's more about managing the game. Eventually the game will slow down for him. Right now it's like a blur. That's to be expected, but I'm real proud of him.

”His footwork is getting better. We're getting him to set his rush point and get in the pocket. Tajh is going to be fine. He's doing a good job. It's just understanding that he's the leader, but he doesn't have to make every one of those plays. He's got to be the guy who manages the offense."

Following the scrimmage, Boyd said there was one play in particular that emphasized Morris’ concern. He tried to throw the ball away, but the ball was close enough to the sideline that it almost allowed a defensive player to intercept it.

"I have to learn to throw the ball away,” he said. Specifically, me throwing the ball away," Boyd said. “See, I’m always trying to make a play, and I want to score on every play. I don’t want just three or four yards – I want every play to go 80 yards.

“Maybe you can do that in high school, but you can’t do that up here. You have to take the points when you can get them instead of trying to force things. We had some plays today where there was nothing going on and I'm trying to make plays with my feet but I would lose three yards. So I need to make that a 2nd-and-10 instead of a 2nd-and-13 or 15."

Morris said that if his teams can learn to protect the ball, the sky is the limit.

“I firmly believe that if we go out and don’t turn the football over, we’re gonna win a lot of football games,” he said. “If we don’t put the ball on the ground, or take a sack or put the ball in jeopardy we will be okay. But those are the things that get you beat. We have to have that ticked-off attitude, and go play with that attitude. We have a bunch of great players, and we have great players coming.”

And, with so many great players, the key to success will be giving them the opportunity to score instead of the opposition.

“It's an everyday occurrence, but you have to protect the football,” he said. “There has to be a sense of urgency every day. You have to understand that. The only team that's going to beat us is ourself. I firmly believe that. If we go out and don't turn the ball over, we'll win a lot of football games. If we lay the ball on the ground because we're not focused, that will get you beat."

He ended by saying he wants people to think about his offense when they think of Clemson football.

“Coach Steele has done a great job with our defense,” he said. “Everyone talks about the defense and they should because coach Steele does an unbelievable job, but I tell my guys that when people talk about Clemson football, I want them to mention the offense, too. We don’t play second fiddle to anybody.”

**Tight end Dwayne Allen Dwayne Allen
Tight End
6-3, 245
Fayetteville, NC
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had a great quote on Saturday when he was asked about his role in the offense, and he told reporters that he now feels like he knows the offense inside and out. He said he is looking forward to the different ways that Morris can get him the football, but also said he is looking forward to the running game.

“Make no mistake about it, we are a run-first team,” he said. “They can call this the spread, but we are going to run the ball. And with me and [Chad] Diehl back there, we are going to punch people in the mouth.”

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