Clemson offensive coordinator disappointed with performance
CLEMSON -- At the end of Chad Morris' meeting with the media Monday, after he talked in detail about a list of mistakes, the coordinator added he had not meant the meeting to take on a "negative" tone.
Still, Morris was candid. He said he was "ticked off" as he left the field Saturday. He had to remind himself the offense was not going to be completely remodeled in one game. Morris called the transformation a "process."
He called the third-down woes and mental mistakes unacceptable.
Perhaps most disappointing was the offense was not as physical as Morris wanted. The stated objective was to create a physical identity. On one occasion, Clemson failed to score on a fourth-and-goal running play from the 1.
"It's not close to where I want to be," Morris said of the running game. "Last week, I didn't think we were very physical during (first-team defense vs. first-team offense) practice reps. So I challenged them (Monday) morning ... I think we go seven minutes per day (first-team offense vs. first-team defense), we might get in seven minutes of up-downs but we are going to get seven minutes of something."
The troubles started at quarterback where Morris indicated the moment might have been too big early on for Tajh Boyd, who was making his first college start Saturday.
"I thought in the first half, he had a glazed-over look," Morris said. "He was kind of starring into outer space a little bit. He was reverting back to backyard football instead of trusting his reads. That was one of the things he and I talked about numerous times on the sideline. I said you have to trust your coaching, you have to trust your reads. He kept telling me all the right things ... And I said 'We are going to make it simple for you but at some point you have to execute.'"
After a poor first half, Boyd completed 14 of 18 second-half passes in a scaled-down offense.
Morris said it
Morris on the debut of WR Sammy Watkins: "With the ball in his hands Sammy did a lot of great things. When the ball wasn't in his hands he didn't do much."
Pick it up
Morris has a stated goal of 80 players per game and the players -- notably Boyd and the offensive line -- were not operating at the desired pace Saturday.
"The pace was not even close," Morris said. "That starts with our quarterback. I think you saw (Boyd) in the second half, when he picked our pace up, we started to play well. Again it goes back to you're having to remind these guys on the sideline between every possession 'This is what we are doing ... look at me on the sidelines.' It was almost like they were reverting back."