CLEMSON — Perhaps Chad Morris saved the R-rated assessment of his offense’s performance against Virginia Tech for the sideline or the film room.
He gave reporters what he called his “G-rated” evaluation of the showing on Monday. What the Clemson offensive coordinator saw was complacency, a bubble of overconfidence perhaps brought on by so much offensive success so early in the season.
“I think some of our guys might have been walking around signing too many autographs,” Morris said. “I know this: that (locker) room was very much in complete focus after that game.”
Morris has had little to be critical of when reviewing his offense through the first six weeks of the season.
The No. 14 Tigers entered the weekend ranked 13th in the nation in total offense, averaging 525 yards per game. But Morris now has some video miscues to coach off of as the Tigers produced season lows in yards (295) and plays (66) against Virginia Tech.
Clemson (6-1, 3-1 ACC) travels to Wake Forest (4-3, 2-3) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday (ESPN).
“I think you have to look at it a couple different ways,” Morris said. “I think you have to give (Virginia Tech) credit, a week before they were playing inspired against Duke. (Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster) had made some changes, and I think you saw that carry forward to Saturday. But with that being said, I thought our performance was very lethargic.”
Morris was particularly troubled by his offensive line, which struggled to pass protect and create running lanes. Morris vowed to get the unit playing back to the way it was earlier in the season against Auburn and Florida State.
“You can look at two of the first three plays (which resulted in sacks),” Morris said. “The rest of the game going forward you had a hard time getting Tajh (Boyd) to step up in the pocket. That was causing balls to sail. He was definitely off. Totally unacceptable for our guys. … We got no movement, we didn’t knock anyone off of the ball.
“We’re just inconsistent. We don’t have a lot of depth or a lot of competition in practice.”
Boyd suffered what was described as a stinger to his shoulder in Saturday’s game. Morris said Boyd returned to practice Sunday and said he was “good.”
Clemson defensive tackle Josh Watson on the best part about a short turnaround: “We get to miss a lot of school.”
Watson on his stop-of- momentum sack of Logan Thomas on Saturday, which appeared to be whistled prematurely.
“There’s no video in the stat book. It counts as a sack, so I’ll take it.”
With starting cornerback Darius Robinson out for the rest of the regular season with a broken ankle, the team is counting on 6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman Cortez Davis to contribute in the defensive backfield.
“He’s got all the athletic ability,” teammate Xavier Brewer said. “He just needs that mental aspect.”