Clemson not back to drawing board

Running back Andre Ellington (23), coming off an ankle injury, is not only valued for his rushing contributions but his work in pass protection for Tajh Boyd.


CLEMSON -- Chad Morris did not go back to the dry-erase board during Clemson's bye week following the loss at Georgia Tech.

Though the first-year Clemson offensive coordinator said he has installed only 70 percent of his offense this season, he did not respond to the defeat by electing to make his offense more complex, opening the full playbook.

Instead, Morris said No. 9 Clemson is working on perfecting what it already does well, along with the usual week-to-week wrinkles, as it prepares to host Wake Forest at noon Saturday (ESPNU).

"A lot of times the worst thing you can do as a coach is add a bunch of things or tweak a few things and get away from a few of the things you do real well," Morris said. "Football is a game of execution; it's not a game of plays. Sometimes people get so caught up with adding plays to feel like you're coaching. ... We have to do what we do best."

Sammy said it

Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins on the lesson learned at Georgia Tech: "I see a bunch of guys that realized we can be beaten and that we have to come out and play every game not just against Florida State or Auburn … I think that happened with everyone (at Georgia Tech). We didn't think they would play as hard as they did."

Double jeopardy

Morris said fumbles by running backs Mike Bellamy and D.J. Howard at Georgia Tech were traced to fundamental errors.

"What happened is what we call putting the ball in jeopardy, meaning there is space between the ball and the body," Morris said. "In both instances the ball got away from the body. When that happens and you get involved in contact, the chances are extremely high that the ball is going to bounce out. Both those young back, upper body-strength wise, are just not there with that, but that's who we had."

Injury updates

Morris said running back Andre Ellington (sprained left ankle) and tight end Dwayne Allen (turf toe) were limited in practice last week but said both will play versus Wake. Clemson especially needs Ellington healthy for pass protection and ball security purposes.

Freshman Joe Gore practiced with the team Thursday for the first time since he had knee surgery in July. The 6-6, 260-pound Gore, who is redshirting, has moved from defensive end to offensive tackle, coach Dabo Swinney said.

Swinney said kickoff specialist Spencer Benton (shoulder blade) could return at N.C. State after being injured at Virginia Tech. Clemson has missed Benton's strong leg on kickoffs.

A rare feeling

Morris noted he has lost just four times in the last four years combined, covering ground from Lake Travis High (Texas) -- no losses in 2008-09 -- and at Tulsa, where he lost three times last year. "I don't like that feeling," he said. "Losing is not an option."