Morris previews N.C. State, says physical corners will be a challenge

by - Senior Writer -
Mike Bellamy scored Clemson's lone TD a year ago with just 1:22 remaining

CLEMSON – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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remembers last year’s 37-13 loss to N.C. State, and he is making sure that his players remember it was well as they begin preparations this week for the Wolfpack.

Clemson hosts N.C. State in a 3:30 matchup this weekend, and the Tigers will be hoping to continue a string of offensive success that has seen the offense score at least 37 points in every game since the season opener.

Morris, however, doesn’t want to dwell on the past few weeks – he wants to dwell on what happened last season when his offense was shut down by N.C. State. The Tigers averaged a league-best 37 points and 478 yards per game heading into the game in Raleigh last season, but they didn't reach the end zone until the final 90 seconds. They didn't crack the 200-yard mark until late in the third quarter and earned many of their 337 total yards in the meaningless final minutes.

The Tigers also committed four turnovers, including two second-quarter fumbles deep in their own end that led to 10 quick points and changed the entire outlook of the game.

Morris said that State’s defense will present a challenge this week.

“Very sound,” Morris said of the Wolfpack. “Coming into last week, we knew what kind of defense Maryland had. They were very solid. This group we are playing this week - they lead the league in sacks and are number seven in the country [actually 10th]. They move their front every play, they play a lot of man coverage. That has been the coverage of the year against us.”

Morris said there are similarities between this game and the game a year ago, and the Tigers were physically beaten up in that game.

“Point blank, they got after our tail last year,” he said. “That is something that won’t go unnoticed this week as we talk about a very solid football team in State. It’s the same thing – we were 9-1 and ranked in the top 10 and they got after us. I don’t know if our guys were overlooking those guys or what. They have five returning starters from last year – if anything they move their front a lot more so this will be a challenge.”

N.C. State features a pair of talented cornerbacks in David Amerson and C.J. Wilson, and Morris said the Wolfpack like to play man coverage on the outside receivers.

He also said those corners like to take chances.

“I think they take chances,” he said. “They are extremely well-coached, and they are returning from last year. Amerson had 14 interceptions last year or something like that. That has been down this year, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that people don’t wanna throw to his side. He hasn’t had the opportunities this year like he had last year. It’s not that he isn’t playing well; he just isn’t getting the opportunities. They take chances and they are aggressive – that is their style of play. And they are physical with the receivers. They were physical last year, and it was a battle. They got after us last year.”

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