ATLANTA — – Over the last eight weeks, Chad Morris’ offense has looked almost infallible. Clemson entered Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech averaging over 40 points per game (15th in the nation) with eight turnovers in eight games.
In Bobby Dodd Stadium, those turnover numbers ballooned, and the Tigers’ offensive production dropped. Clemson committed four turnovers and scored 17 points in a 31-17 defeat, giving Morris, Clemson’s first-year offensive coordinator plenty to ponder during the off week.
“This type of game right here, it’s going to bring those guys even closer together,” Morris said. “We’re going to respond and rebound, and we’ll fix what went wrong.”
Morris covered several key topics in his meeting with reporters afterward:
On how Georgia Tech’s ball-control offense affected him, and did it cause him anxiety: “You try not to think that. You try to remain on your course. Stay on your game plan. Those things happen. You have to take advantage of every opportunity you get. That’s what good teams do. We did it for a while, and we couldn’t capitalize when we had that opportunity. When the defense made a big turnover, picked off a pass, we’re fixing to cut the lead to seven with 10 minutes left in the game, and we give it right back to them. On the very next play. That was tough.”
On the decision-making of Tajh Boyd, who had two interceptions after entering with three in eight games: “I think Tajh was pressing a little bit. I think they all were for a while. Especially in the second half, everyone was pressing. And he still made some great throws. We made some uncharacteristic (mistakes) like not taking care of the football, which is real uncharacteristic for us. So again, you try and go back, review the film, figure out what went wrong. We’re going to work harder, coach harder and our goals are attainable.”
How much did you miss Andre Ellington (sidelined with an ankle sprain) tonight: “I think you saw that everyone missed Andre tonight. The young guys (Mike Bellamy and D.J. Howard) did a good job. They did a decent job in pass protection, we turned the ball over, and like I was saying earlier, that’s something we haven’t done this year. That’s something that’s allowed us to be successful to this point. We talk it all week long, we talk it every day, protect the football. You turn the ball over four times. That’s tough to beat anybody.”
A question on Sammy Watkins that turned into a state-of-the-offense answer:
“We all know what kind of player he is, he’s doing a great job with it. He’s a heck of a player. It’s about all those other guys in the room, getting them better and finding some positives out of this. Because there are some positives out of this. Everyone’s going to think it’s going to be all negative, doom and gloom, and this is something that’s going to pull us together.
“And sometimes you have to have something like this happen to you to realize how special it is. Does it put a damper on this season? Yeah, it hurts. We’re all disappointed in it, but our goal is to win our share of the division and take the next step. Those goals are attainable. You’re going to find this group, when they get back, they’re going to get healthy over the off week and they’re going to work hard and work toward that goal.”