7 at 7: Chad Morris challenges Clemson offensive players to brush off Georgia collapse

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris works the sideline. as the Clemson Tigers visit the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., Sat. Aug. 30, 2014. Gwinn Davis/Special to the Post and Courier

CLEMSON - Shortly after the sun rose Monday - and yes, it did rise in Clemson, despite the tough loss in Georgia - Chad Morris woke up his players with an ultimatum.

"You had two trains of thought (to choose.) You're either part of the problem, or part of the solution," Morris told the Tigers. "If you're part of the problem, you're gonna get gone; if you're part of the solution, let's go to work. I don't need you bellyaching. I don't need you pouting. Everybody's hurting. Nobody wants to lose. But figure it out."

It is there we begin our seven evening notes, quotes and news items as Georgia week gave way to South Carolina State week ...

1) Of course Morris was ticked. His manhood as a bright offensive mind has to feel challenged after Clemson picked up just one first down in the second half Saturday between the hedges.

The Tigers ran 54 first-half snaps, scoring 21 points and moving the chains 14 times. Even that wasn't fast enough for Morris, who admitted he didn't want new quarterback Cole Stoudt operating at sonic speed.

"I was doing a lot of things to slow him down just a little bit, because I didn't want to put him in a bad spot," Morris said. "There were some things I was taking off him a little bit, and doing some things as far as communication while he was on the field. But still, we had really good tempo at times. That was the gameplan coming in, especially this being his first ballgame."

As well as it went for 30 minutes - Clemson picked up 276 yards on its first eight drives - the wheels fell off after halftime.

"You pretty much could circle play 50. From play 51 to play 79, there were very few plays in there that we executed even close to the level we executed at 1 through 50," Morris said. "We had 31 missed assignments. It's hard to beat anybody with 10 missed assignments, much less 31. You can't have that. You can't operate and function in that type of environment and expect to win."

As great as Georgia's blitzers were - dialing up five sacks, four in the second half - Morris made no excuses.

"We knew they were going to pressure us," Morris said. "I said it Saturday night, and I'll say it again after watching the film: they did not do one thing different than what we thought they were going to do, and what we prepared for. Not one thing."

2) Field position pelted the Tigers in the second half, when their seven drives started on their own 23, 7, 20, 8, 17, 19 and 25. The Tigers' offense never snapped the ball past its own 29-yard-line in the last two quarters.

"They have to restripe the grass back down there on that end of the field," Morris quipped, "because we spent a lot of time down there."

3) Starting running back D.J. Howard (11 carries, 28 yards) and junior C.J. Davidson (13 carries, 66 yards) each scored a touchdown, but the duo produced an uninspiring 3.9 yards per carry.

"They did OK. They did well," Morris said. "I thought C.J. ran hard. I thought D.J. ran hard at times as well. I think there was some things we could have maybe gotten free a little bit more, but I thought the effort was there."

Talk about some tepid support. We'll see how it goes when freshmen Wayne Gallman and Adam Choice get more reps against an FCS foe Saturday.

4) It took the Tigers six snaps inside the six, but they did finally squirt into the end zone to tie the game at 14 in the second quarter. Clemson went for it on 4 th-and-1, which robbed kicker Ammon Lakip of an easy rep, but garnered the Tigers four big points.

"Being down there that far, I kind of had a little edge," said Stoudt, who picked up the fourth-down gain on a 2-yard plunge. "I would've been really mad if we kicked it, because I always thought being that far down, being a 4th-and-1 situation, that's a really huge momentum changer if we got it, and we did."

5) With senior tight end Sam Cooper out for the foreseeable future with a broken leg, Jordan Leggett and Stanton Seckinger offer more gifts catching the ball than standing back in pass protection.

Which is why Morris was quite pleased with Clemson's fourth tight end.

"Jay Jay McCullough came in and did an exceptionally good job in blocking," Morris said. "Was probably the most physical of all our tight ends. I was pleased to see him definitely earn more playing time, definitely earn some trust from us as coaches."

6) Among ESPN's college football best plays of week one: freshman receiver Artavis Scott's second career catch in his first career game, leaping over Georgia cornerback Aaron Davis and plucking an underthrown Stoudt ball for a 35-yard gain.

"Yeah, I think it was ... probably the best catch I've ever had," Scott said, beaming during his first interview at Clemson. "When Cole threw it, I just had to make a play, and did what I had to do."

7) Remember, the suspended players return for week two. On Clemson's updated depth chart, left guard David Beasley is listed as Reid Webster's co-starter; defensive end Corey Crawford is co-starter along with Tavaris Barnes; and cornerback Garry Peters is backing up Martin Jenkins.

Morris was asked about Beasley's return, and how much that'll help a thin offensive line.

"A whole bunch. A whole bunch," Morris said. "Provides us some depth. Provides us an opportunity to move some guys around. And we've got some guys up there that are playing and will continue to play. That group right now, we need some depth."

Look for a bevy of defensive notes Tuesday ...