CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Chad Morris was named the FBS National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association on Wednesday.
Morris, Clemson’s third-year conductor for Tajh Boyd and the Tigers’ attack, is the program’s first such honoree.
“Just can’t happen to a more deserving guy,” head coach Dabo Swinney said Wednesday on the ACC coaches teleconference. “It’s a great compliment to our staff and to those guys, Tony (Elliott), Danny Pearman, Robbie Caldwell, Jeff Scott. Really happy for Chad Morris. Just a great, great honor for him.”
According to the AFCA, the award honors individuals “who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.”
Morris was a high school football coach in Texas from 1994-2009, before taking the assistant head coaching job at Tulsa in 2010 and then moving to Clemson for the 2011 season. His $1.3 million salary in 2012 made him the highest-paid assistant coach in college football.
The Tigers are 31-7 in his three years, helping Boyd become ACC Player of the Year last season and guiding a top-ten rated offense in 2012 and 2013.
Morris was also one of the 40 names listed Wednesday as candidates for the Broyles Award, which honors the same category.
Power goes out
Swinney and the Tigers were forced to call an audible on their Wednesday schedule.
After completing a team meeting early Wednesday afternoon, a fire on campus in a transformer knocked out the power for an extended period of time.
“We thought it might just be a few minutes, but we had zero power, so we couldn’t do anything. Got no video, got nothing,” Swinney said. “So we didn’t get a chance to make our practice corrections today from yesterday. Man, gotta hit the curveball.”
The Tigers practiced earlier than normal within their indoor facility on a cold but bright day, in the event they wouldn’t have lighting for their usual evening practice. The lights were back on by the end of their practice Wednesday.
Clemson then went back to the video rooms for game-plan installation after practice, preceding its Thanksgiving team dinner. Players will be allowed to go home Thursday if family is nearby; displaced players may go with teammates or to a coaches’ house for the holiday, before the team boards busses for Columbia Friday.
Respect for Alabama
A former Alabama player and coach, Swinney does admire the Crimson Tide’s success from afar. Alabama has won three of the past four national championships, and are still ranked No. 1 and undefeated going into an all-top-five Iron Bowl at rival Auburn Saturday.
“I think coaches probably have a greater appreciation than anybody because we all know how hard it is to win any game, much less win as consistently as they have,” Swinney said. “They’ve been very dominant. They’ve obviously got great tradition and history there. They have recruited at a very high level. They certainly have great players and great depth, and they coach them up. It’s been an impressive run, that’s for sure.”
The Alabama-Auburn winner will represent the SEC West in the league championship game, and if the Tide or Tigers win that, they’ll be in position to head to Pasadena for the BCS title showdown. Alabama is a 10.5-point favorite over host Auburn.
“We’ll see how they finish,” Swinney said. “But if they are able to go on and win out, win three national championships in a row, they certainly deserve to be in the conversation for whatever dynasties are out there from years past because that is incredibly hard to do once, twice, three times in a row. My hat goes off to them.”