Orange Bowl notes: Clemson's Chad Morris says Urban Meyer considered him for a job, Meyer denies
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Well, this might be awkward.
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Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer have different recollections of some conversations at the end of the 2011 season, shortly after Meyer was appointed the Buckeyes' leader and just before Morris signed his contract extension following his first year with the Tigers.
In his press conference Monday morning, Morris was asked about that time when he had led sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd and the Clemson offense to marked improvement and an ACC championship. Reports surfaced that Meyer, who took over Ohio State after a hiatus in 2011, was attempting to hire away Morris, who just two years prior had finished up a successful high school coaching career in Texas.
Morris said he knew Meyer when Meyer was head coach at Utah and would recruit some of Morris' players - a relationship strengthened when Meyer called two of Clemson's 2011 games as an ESPN color commentator.
Then Meyer, impressed by Morris' offensive mind, spent a few practices with the Tigers, exchanging ideas with Morris.
That's where the agreement in memory ends.
"When he got back in it, to be considered and to talk to him, it was an honor," Morris said. "But it was right around our ACC Championship Game, and it was pretty much within the hours that we were talking this whole (contract) thing through. But a great honor, a great football coach, and he's done a wonderful job everywhere he's been."
Coaxed to clarify if he was in the mix to become OSU's offensive coordinator in the first year of the Meyer era, Morris said, "Oh, yeah."
But he added, "Well, I don't know how close it really got. . I know that Sunday after we won the ACC Championship, coach (Dabo) Swinney and I, and our athletic director at the time, Terry Don Phillips, were in Coach Swinney's office at 8 a.m. Sunday morning and negotiating and working out the details, the final details of my contract extension."
Later that afternoon, the subject was broached with Meyer coming off the Buckeyes' practice field at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.
"There's no truth to that. I don't know where that (came from)," Meyer said. "I'll have to ask Chad someday, did you start that?"
It's not that Meyer dislikes Morris, who took over a No. 88-rated offense after 2010 and raised the Tigers to No. 26 nationally in 2011.
"Everyone knows I have a lot of respect for him. I think he's great," Meyer said. "Because I remember watching the transformation from the previous offense to his, and it was almost overnight, they came out doing a great job. Great football coach."
Asked specifically if he talked to Morris about a job offer, Meyer said "No. No."
It was suggested Meyer got Morris a raise, since Clemson didn't want to lose Morris. Meyer raised his hands in a shrugging motion, as if to wash his hands of the matter.
"I've had conversations with him, but not about jobs. At Ohio State? No," Meyer said. "I've had conversations with him about offense, because I admire what he does offensively."
Morris became Clemson's offensive coordinator in January 2011, for a total salary of $450,000 on a five-year deal. Less than 12 months later on Dec. 12, he was officially extended two seasons and earned a hefty raise to $1.3 million per year.
Buckeyes in sick bay
A tweet by the parent of an Ohio State player inferred the team had been struck by food poisoning, but Meyer and an OSU spokesman cleared it up Monday afternoon, calling it a "stomach bug."
Buckeyes in sick bay
"Four or five guys. But it's a 24-hour deal, they're telling me. They're in quarantine," Meyer said. "Every day, it's something. We'll be fine."
The spokesman said no starting players have been affected, but a graduate assistant and some administrative personnel caught the bug.
'Mo' hotter, mo' better'
When the temperatures soar into the upper 70s, Swinney gets a chance for one of his patented "Daboisms," as they're becoming known.
'Mo' hotter, mo' better'
"Man, I love it. Mo' hotter, mo' better. Love it, love it," Swinney said with a smile after practice at Barry University. "Gonna have a T-shirt made up. I love that."
Swinney was dogging the offensive linemen sweating it out during practice.
"This is my kind of weather right here," Swinney said. "It's a mindset. We're fortunate that we're in the South, so our guys understand what humidity is . that's where your depth comes in, and conditioning."