Morris says Clemson need to focus on Tigers not Gamecocks

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CLEMSON – Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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knows the South Carolina Gamecocks will present a special challenge for his high-flying offense this Saturday when the rivals resume hostilities in Death Valley.

However, Morris said his offense has to continue to do the things that have elevated the group to the No. 4 scoring offense in the country and the No. 6 offense overall in the nation.

“It’s not necessarily who we play, but how we play,” Morris told the media Monday morning in the WestZone. “That is our focus, that is how it has been all year long and that is what it will be this week. It’s about the Tigers and how we play and how we prepare. That is our biggest challenge to our guys, to remain on that standard that the coaches have set for this team. We are excited about this opportunity – this is why you get in this business for games like this. “

The Tigers (No. 12 AP) and the Gamecocks (No. 13 AP) have plenty of interesting subplots to go around, but the battle between Morris’ offense and the defense of first-year defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, who has the Gamecocks ranked 13th nationally in total defense.

Ward, building off what former coordinator Ellis Johnson did at South Carolina, likes to employ “The Rabbit” when teams get into passing situations, putting four defensive ends on the line. The formation has caused havoc for opposing offenses, especially with sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney leading the way.

Morris said Ward still uses the Rabbit.

“They haven’t quite been as much rabbit package as they were a year ago, obviously with [Melvin] Ingram,” he said. “But they are very talented up front; there is no question about that. They play a lot of man, and a lot of man free, the same thing we have said each week. They play their safety extremely deep, and try to not let anybody get behind him. They try to out-physical you out on the edge. They feel like they can stop the run with their front and man you up and they have had a lot of success with that this year. They are as good of a defensive line as we have seen, and we all know about Clowney and the player that he is, maybe one of the best in the country. They are doing a few things different than they did last year, but they are still playing their four down.”

Morris said Ward uses Clowney all over the defensive line.

“They move him around as well. Obviously they want to put him at defensive end, but they will put him at the nose and at tackle and we have seen him play all across the front,” he said. “Then there are times they will let him be the standup guy. They will let him move around and create mismatches with him. You better know where he is and account for him. Everybody has tried to do that [double-team him] but he has done a good job of fighting off two defenders.”

Morris said that South Carolina and Florida St. are similar in talent along the front, but Florida St. moves their linemen around more.

“Florida St. did a lot more movement. They [SCAR] haven’t moved their guys quite as much,” he said. “They are still a four down team, and where Florida St. played two safeties deep, they play one safety deep and get that extra hat in the box. That is who they are.”

Another player that Ward likes to move around is senior safety D.J. Swearinger.

“They have moved him all over the field,” Morris said. “He has played safety, he has played corner, he has played nickel-SAM – they have put him all over the field. In the last few games, they have put him back deep and let him be that guy. They are not letting anything deep and kind of letting him flow to the ball.”

Morris was asked about the problems the Tigers had in protecting quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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in last year’s game, and Morris said Boyd was a good portion of the problem.

“I think you had a quarterback that wasn’t running the ball very effectively,” Morris said. “He was standing back there like a concrete deer. A statue. Really, that is what he was. He was hit early, and he had lost his fundamentals and his technique and wasn’t moving as well. He was a sitting target. But it was several guys. We looked at the things they did that caused us problems, but this is two different teams.”

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