CLEMSON, SC – When Chad Morris talks about speeding up the temp of his offense and forcing his players to play with more of a sense of urgency; it also means he expects the same out of himself and his coaches.
That’s why Clemson’s offensive coordinator’s voice was hoarse when he spoke to the media following the Tigers first of two practices Friday. Clemson spent two hours in the morning sun as it kicked off the first of four two-a-day sessions for the 2012 camp.
“This has been going on like this for the last couple of days,” Morris said of his raspy voice. “We are not giving these guys an inch to breath out there. It is time to take that next step and take it to the next level. That is on us (the coaches). We have to push the tempo. I can’t ask for this to be a fast-pace tempo team and I’m back there walking around slow. I have to go fast, too.”
So far a lot of guys are going fast. Morris, like head coach Dabo Swinney, has been pleased with the development of backup center Ryan Norton and Shaq Anthony at right tackle. Though Anthony is a redshirt freshman, he shows at times that he can handle things. However, there are also times, as Morris described it, that he seems lost.
“Joe is like a batter that only hits fastballs, and he knocks them out of the park,” Morris said. “You throw him a little changeup in there, and he whiffs. So you are seeing great things at times and you are seeing times when he is hazy.
“That’s typical with a young guy. He has been put into a starting role right now and we are trying to overload him and put the pressure on him. We want to strain him mentally. I think he is getting better. Is he going to be there? Who knows? That’s what camp is for. But his effort is good. His toughness is good. We just have to make sure he knows where he is going and what he is doing.”
Besides his young offensive lineman, Morris also raved about backup quarterback Chad Kelly. He said the true freshman has already helped improve the quarterback room with his presence and his work ethic has increased the level of competiveness at the backup position.
“Chad Kelly really had his best day, today,” Morris said. “There is a great drive and a great competition going on at that position right now. They are making each other better.”Freshman wide receiver Germone Hopper also received praise from his offensive coordinator. Morris says he has had his good days and his bad days like any true freshman will have when he first comes in, but he loves his effort.
Morris has also been pleased with the play of fullback Darrell Smith and reserve tight end Eric Mac Lain the last two days.
First scrimmage. When the Tigers take to the field on Saturday for their first stadium scrimmage of camp, Morris wants to see his offense value possession more than anything.
“I want to see one hundred percent ball security,” he said. “That’s the number one thing we want to see as well as effort. Now, we know we are going to make mistakes, but I want to see great tempo, effort and a relentless four to six seconds of all they got on every play.”That’s what tomorrow’s scrimmage is about.”
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd says he is looking for the same things.
“That’s what we want to do as an offense,” he said. “We had a good practice today, I thought. We did not turn over the football. We managed the offense. That is what you want. It’s all about ball security. That’s one of our goals tomorrow.”
The two-hour scrimmage will start at 10:45 a.m. inside Death Valley. It is closed to the public.
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