Morris looks to put swagger back in Clemson offense

by - Senior Writer -

AUDIO: Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris

CLEMSON – Chad Morris says it is time to put the swagger back in the Clemson offense.

Clemson’s offense struggled to score points and to maintain an offensive identity during the 2010 season, and Clemson’s new offensive coordinator said Thursday afternoon that he wants to change that as he enters his first spring practice at the helm of the Tiger offense.

The development of that new identity begins Friday afternoon when Clemson opens spring practice.

“I think we have to develop an identity, and I think the identity we have to have is a tough, physical approach, and we are going to start that process tomorrow,” Morris said. “I am going to push them well out of their comfort zone, and I am going to push them harder than what they think they can do. To do what I am going to ask of them is going to tax them pretty good.

“They may think they have done what I have asked them to do, and then I will ask for more. If we only get three run plays established, and we get really good at it, then I will be really happy. Are we going to try and install a lot more than that? Sure, but we can’t advance if we don’t grasp the basics of what we have to do. This spring is important just for the simple fact that they have to understand the pace I am going to be asking of them.”

Morris that this spring isn’t necessarily about installing his entire offense, but more about making sure his players get their confidence back.

“They make think they understand the pace, but after the first five minutes of practice tomorrow they will know,” he said. “They may not be able to practice another period after that first five minutes, but they will be fine because we will get a lot of plays in. We may not get the whole offense installed this spring.

“We need to develop a swagger from an offensive standpoint and develop an identity. Can we get good at something – that is what I am committed to doing. And we will get good at something, and we will have that swagger when we step out on that field. I am going to push them well outside of their comfort zone.”

Starting running back Andre Ellington is still sidelined following his January foot surgery, leaving Clemson with only one back [Roderick McDowell] who has game experience available to practice. Morris says that allows players like Demont Buice and D.J. Howard – who both redshirted last season – the opportunity to catch his eye.

“What is here and what is coming in [talent-wise], I am excited about that,” he said. “But the thing I like about spring is the fact that a lot of guys have the opportunity to prove themselves and make a name for themselves right now, before other guys can come in and catch my attention. That is a good way for me to remember them. I feel like the pieces are there, but I won’t know that until I see them on the field.”

*Morris also said that he has been impressed with the offensive line during mat drills. He said he has been pleased with their effort during the drills, and the offensive line group was the most impressive of the eight groups that came to his station. He said the group was also in better shape than he thought they would be.

*In regards to how fullback Chad Diehl and tight end Dwayne Allen would fit into the offense. Morris said there is a place for both of them because he runs a lot of H-back and tight end sets. He said he wants to use Diehl out of the backfield and try to put the rising senior into situations where he can create mismatch problems for the defense.

*Morris said that his wide receivers need to be in great shape. “These guys may run four or four-and-a-half miles during a practice. That might be a good study for you guys, to see how far they run. They keep telling me they aren’t distance runners, but we’ll see how they do.”

*He has been impressed with quarterback Tajh Boyd and his work ethic and desire to learn. But one thing he wants to see during the spring is having one of the freshmen – either Cole Stoudt or Tony McNeal – establish themselves as a clear backup to Boyd.

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