CLEMSON — In its first year under Chad Morris, Clemson’s hurry-up, no-huddle offense has more than lived up to the hype. Despite a late-season slump, the Tigers finished the regular season 29th nationally in total offense, averaging 440.6 yards per game, and 27th in scoring offense, averaging 33.6 points per game.
Sunday night, the Tigers ensured Morris will be around to orchestrate it at least a little while longer. Clemson confirmed that Morris has signed a new contract, which is expected to give him a significant raise over the four-year, $450,000 annual deal that he signed when Dabo Swinney hired him away from Tulsa last January.
Terms were not disclosed, but will be released at a later date.
“We have reached an agreement to stay at Clemson,” Morris said in a statement. “My wife Paula and our children, MacKenzie and Chandler, are very happy here. This is where we want to be. This is a place where people are passionate about football.
“ I am excited about the future of this program. We have outstanding young players on this offense this year and I know we have some outstanding student-athletes who will be joining the program next year. We have a bright future and we feel we will continue to be one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.”
Tigerillustrated.com reported Sunday that Ohio State and new coach Urban Meyer were prepared to offer Morris as much as $1.5 million annually to become the Buckeyes’ new OC, and Swinney said at least five other programs had contacted him with interest.
However, Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips said at halftime of the Tigers’ basketball game with South Carolina that he was well aware of the Buckeyes’ interest, and had been for some time, and that the two sides were in “good shape” for a deal.
Swinney said he was happy Morris was staying, and that a new contract had been a focus were some time. “We never had any doubts,” he said. “It was more of a formality.”
He said last week amid the initial Ohio State rumors that he expected Morris to stay at Clemson until leaving for a BCS head coaching opportunity.
“When he came here last year, and all through the season, he’s said that this is where he wants to be,” Swinney said Sunday. “Until he gets the right opportunity to be a head coach at some point, he’s done a good job, and we’re happy he’ll continue to be with us for a while.”
A year ago, Clemson ranked 88th nationally in total offense; the Tigers are averaging over 100 yards more offense per game this season. CU has also improved from 78th to 21st nationally in passing offense.
With Andre Ellington and Sammy Watkins, Clemson has a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver for the third time in its history. In addition, sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd has set single-season program records in passing yardage, touchdown passes, touchdown responsibility and total offense.
Bellamy suspended indefinitely: Swinney said Sunday that freshman tailback Mike Bellamy has been suspended “indefinitely” after being sent home from the ACC Championship for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
A five-star recruit when he signed with Clemson last February, he is the Tigers’ second-leading rusher.
“He has not been as focused as I’d like him to be,” Swinney said. “We have to try and get him dialed back in.”
Also, senior left tackle Phillip Price, who left Saturday after re-injuring his right knee (he sprained the right medial collateral ligament against Wake Forest in mid-November) should be ready to go for the Orange Bowl. Swinney said he “re-tweaked” the knee.
“This is what the doctor ordered for our football team,” he said. “Time off. A lot of guys will benefit from fresher legs.”