CLEMSON -- A frustrated Chad Morris issued a challenge to underachieving veteran players following an erratic first scrimmage Saturday: get better quickly or else.
The new Clemson offensive coordinator was disappointed with execution and mental focus Saturday, lamenting a red zone turnover and several critical mental miscues.
"We were out of rhythm," Morris said. "Some parts of it are it's a first scrimmage; the other part is some of the veteran guys aren't cutting it right now, not like I want to see, not like we are expecting to see. They better step it up."
Morris said veterans better improve quickly because there are other options like freshmen Sammy Watkins and Mike Bellamy who are rising quickly.
Morris said Watkins, a receiver, had an "outstanding" week. When asked if Watkins is pushing to join the first-team offense, Morris said. "I think Sammy is pushing ... there are some veteran guys that better climb the ladder in a hurry."
Watkins earned plenty of reps but was targeted with just one pass.
Bellamy rushed six times for 40 yards.
Boyd keeps momentum
One positive development for Morris was continued improvement from quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Boyd enjoyed the best scrimmage of his Clemson career on Saturday, showing better accuracy in completing 10 of 12 passes for 168 yards and no interceptions. Boyd threw for a touchdown and rushed for two other scores.
Boyd attributed the performance to a better understanding of the offense and improved footwork but also took accountability for a less-than stellar showing from the rest of the offense.
"As a whole I feel like we have a lot of work to do," Boyd said. "Statistics aren't anything if you don't win games ... We are trying to change the culture around here."
Morris said this development is what he expects of his first-year quarterback.
"Tajh is not the same person he was in the spring," Morris said. "He's more familiar with the offense. ... everyone is acting surprised but this is what we expect of him. It's a big deal to be the quarterback at Clemson."
Clemson kickers Chandler Catanzaro, freshman Ammon Lakip and Brian Symmes were 16 of 16 on field goal attempts Saturday. The accuracy is encouraging, though Catanzaro was also an exceptionally accurate practice kicker last year, unable to translate the performance to gamedays.
Four players were held out of the scrimmage due to injury: Xavier Brewer (sprained foot), Garry Peters (bruised calf), Andre Branch (head and neck) and DeShawn Williams (sprained ankle). ... RB Andre Ellington looked healthy rushing five times for 41 yards ... Martin Jenkins had a team-best seven tackles ... Safety Rashard Hall graduated Saturday, becoming just the second player to graduate and have two years of football eligibility remaining, joining former Tiger Nick Eason.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.