Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt interviews Chad Morris in Upstate

Chad Morris directs a drill at their first bowl game football practice session on Dec. 8th

Photo by Mark Crammer

Chad Morris directs a drill at their first bowl game football practice session on Dec. 8th

Shortly before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the latest threat to Clemson’s current offensive success arrived at Anderson Regional Airport.

A charter jet carrying Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt landed, and shortly afterward, Hocutt was joined by Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris.

Hocutt was set to interview Morris for the Red Raiders’ head coaching position, which opened up unexpectedly Saturday when coach Tommy Tuberville bolted for Cincinnati.

Hocutt told the Independent Mail that he was interviewing Morris, who is finishing his second season as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.

The Lubbock (Tex.) Avalanche-Journal reported Tuesday that Morris was “right at the top” of Hocutt’s wish list, along with Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

The Texas Tech charter arrived from Houston, where Hocutt is believed to have interviewed Kingsbury.

“We’d like to get a decision done as soon as possible,” Hocutt said. “But at the same time it’s an important decision and we’re going to take time to make the right choice.”

Wearing a suit and tie and carrying a leather shoulder bag, Morris arrived about 10 minutes after Hocutt’s plane.

He declined specific comment to reporters from the Independent Mail and TigerIllustrated.com.

“I’ve done everything with you guys,” he said.

Texas Tech could be an attractive destination for Morris, a Texas native who spent 16 seasons as a head coach in the Texas high school ranks. He is in his third season as a collegiate coach, spending a year at Tulsa before being hired by Swinney in January 2010.

Morris makes $1.3 million annually as the nation’s highest-paid assistant coach; last year, he signed a six-year, $7.8 million contract which has no buyout if he leaves for a head coaching position.

In two seasons, Morris has revitalized Clemson’s offense with his hurry-up, no-huddle attack. The Tigers finished the regular season in the top 13 nationally in scoring offense, total offense and passing offense.

Clemson averaged 42.3 points per game (sixth in FBS), 518.3 total yards per game (ninth) and 318.3 yards per game (13th).

Morris interviewed with N.C. State for its head coaching vacancy, which was filled by Northern Illinois’ Dave Doeren, and reportedly interviewed with Auburn for its vacancy, which was filled by Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, a Morris coaching mentor. South Florida – which hired Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart – also reportedly had interest in Morris. Last week, Morris denied national reports that he was interviewing with USF before the Bulls hired Taggart.

Last week, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said the rumors of staff departures – defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison left Sunday for Auburn – weren’t a distraction to his team.

Before Tuesday, Morris had not commented on any potential job opportunities. He and defensive coordinator Brent Venables had not been made available to reporters since Nov. 24’s 27-17 loss to South Carolina, ostensibly to study film and make informed comments on LSU, the Tigers’ Chick-fil-A Bowl opponent.

“I love having a staff that wants to be the best. Guys having opportunities to further themselves, I have no problem with that at all,” Swinney said. “You want to have a quality staff that is going to have opportunities to advance their career from time to time. When that happens, you go hire another quality coach and move forward.”

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Comments » 29

Bigboots writes:

Morris: I've done everything with you guys.

Meaning what, exactly?

I say his chances are good. Unless they watch the 2nd half of the usc game.

zilforreal writes:

Morris is probably gone. Great mind for offense against Acc TEAMS. 1000 TIMES BETTER THAN Rob Spence. Morris will probably do well as a head coach. Recruiting will be the key. Dabo can recruit, but has yet to prove himself otherwise.

sportsfan writes:

If the coaches dont want to be here, let them go.

33dtb writes:

in response to zilforreal:

Morris is probably gone. Great mind for offense against Acc TEAMS. 1000 TIMES BETTER THAN Rob Spence. Morris will probably do well as a head coach. Recruiting will be the key. Dabo can recruit, but has yet to prove himself otherwise.

The "late/great TB" was afraid to hire anybody that knew what they were for fear they'd get his job (unlike his daddy),hence Spence(notice he only lasted one season at Syracuse ?).

Dabo, on the other hand is rapidly growing into a CEO role, in the manner of one Coach Danny Ford.
Dabo, unlike the "late/great" LISTENS to Coach Ford.

33dtb writes:

in response to sportsfan:

If the coaches dont want to be here, let them go.

Chad Morris needs to realize that in leaving Clemson, he would be moving away from a great recruiting system.

porkchop writes:

If we have coordinators and coaches nobody else is interested in, then we don't have the best. At this time, we have some of the best. Therefore, others will and should be expected to come seek them. Welcome to life.

brookesdad729 writes:

Are we being real here or selfish? Every assistant coach's dream is to be a head coach somewhere and I don't blame them one bit and as much as Dabo would not want to lose Morris, I'm sure he wishes him well also. This is the beginning of Dabo's coaching tree and I wish him nothing but the best! I don't want him to leave either but we all knew that one day it would happen. Maybe if the turnaround wasn't that good, we would not have this problem but it is what it is and thank God that we're back in the national spotlight again as a winning program. We lost two games to the two best football teams on our schedule who were among the best in the nation, but unlike before, we did not pull a "Clemson" and get beat by a team that we shouldn't have gotten beat by and that is a definite plus for our program. Tommy Bowden was famous for beating FSU and then losing to Duke or WF a week later. Dabo is working hard to change that. Go Tigers!

brookesdad729 writes:

in response to 33dtb:

Chad Morris needs to realize that in leaving Clemson, he would be moving away from a great recruiting system.

A great recruiting system? Really? What about the whole state of Texas and surrounding areas, I don't think it gets any better than that!

TUN writes:

Dabo is the key to Clemson's success not "the Chad." Morris is very good but he is not Dabo. I hope we don't lose Morris but if we do, Dabo will find us another Chad Morris. We have so much talent that if I were the Chad 2013 would be my showcase year--the year he shows to the college football world what he is capable of doing. And if he stayed another year he would have three solid years to point to and to negotiate from. That would be a much stronger position. Furthermore, he has and is in the process of recruiting guys and that, I think, means he owes something to them. Leaving now would send the wrong message. Again, I say the Chad is not ready and I sincerely hope that his first coaching job on this level is not his last. My message to the Chad....there is no rush, put together a body of work that will make you irresistible to other programs, stay at least one more year and help us win a National Championship. Let's make 2013 the Year of the Tiger and the year the Tajh Mahal wins the Heisman.

KIMOSAMI writes:

I hope he stays, but it is a business. Who can blame him for trying to better his position in life. If he goes, I hope he does well. But I hope he stays.

I think Dabo has done a superb job. Twenty wins in two years. South Carolina has had our number for the last four years. But things will change and sooner rather than later.

My fear is that Nick Saban will leave Alabama. When that happens, they will come looking for Dabo. Hopefully he will like it here more and realize the legacy he is establishing here can be something special.

kellytown writes:

If Chad gets this job as a head coach great after all he gets to go back home and who can blame him for that, another thing is Chad was coaching high school football and was a head coach. Chad would have no problem recruting in texas. Hate to see Chad leave theirs no place like home good for you Chad and your family.

Bigboots writes:

I don't know if he is a great recruiter or not.
His strength seems to be rolling up big numbers against weak opponents.
When the level of competition is stepped up, the offense sputters and seems to crash and burn.

brookesdad729 writes:

He may not have gotten the offer yet but the fact that this guy flies here to interview him says that he is a serious contender! Cliff Kingsbury is the other. I hope they like Cliff better. Every time I think about Kingsbury, I remember that he hung 55 on us in a bowl game with Texas Tech! Will never forget it! That and WVU have been our worse losses I believe! But hey, the tables will turn one day!

Bigboots writes:

I think Syracuse with McNabb spanked us pretty well, and didn't Cal? I try not to remember those.

kellytown writes:

in response to Bigboots:

I don't know if he is a great recruiter or not.
His strength seems to be rolling up big numbers against weak opponents.
When the level of competition is stepped up, the offense sputters and seems to crash and burn.

I never said he was a great recruiter!!! I said he was ahead coach during his time in high school football. So I believe that he would have no problem recruting in the high schools in Texas. as far as what he has done at Clemson well I have to agree although Defense wins games and we need alot of work on that side if you can't get the ball then how can the offense get a chance to score you watched the game. when the offense sputters your Defense needs to win games. This is the problem you keep the ball away from a high scoring offense and you limit their touches you beat them. This is the formula that Spurrier has used on us. no mater if you score 50 points if your d can't stop a team from scoring 51. you loose.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to 33dtb:

Chad Morris needs to realize that in leaving Clemson, he would be moving away from a great recruiting system.

So you think that Morris should stay at Clemson as the offensive coordinator and turn down the opportunity to be the HEAD coach of a big12 school in the state of TX which is one of if not the most talent-rich football states in the country... You're an idiot.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TUN:

Dabo is the key to Clemson's success not "the Chad." Morris is very good but he is not Dabo. I hope we don't lose Morris but if we do, Dabo will find us another Chad Morris. We have so much talent that if I were the Chad 2013 would be my showcase year--the year he shows to the college football world what he is capable of doing. And if he stayed another year he would have three solid years to point to and to negotiate from. That would be a much stronger position. Furthermore, he has and is in the process of recruiting guys and that, I think, means he owes something to them. Leaving now would send the wrong message. Again, I say the Chad is not ready and I sincerely hope that his first coaching job on this level is not his last. My message to the Chad....there is no rush, put together a body of work that will make you irresistible to other programs, stay at least one more year and help us win a National Championship. Let's make 2013 the Year of the Tiger and the year the Tajh Mahal wins the Heisman.

Point and laugh. Hilarious. You should take your act on the road. If you think they're winning b/c of Dabo then you shouldn't be concerned at all if Morris leaves. Chad Morris doesn't owe anything to anyone. If Dabo is as great as you say he is then those recruits will not care if Morris leaves. Morris is the highest-paid coordinator in college football, right? That means he already has the resume to be a head coach.

You've got to stop with the knucklehead national championship talk. You have to be the champion of your own state first. You might want to win your conference championship more than once in 20 years also. And then not get rolled in the Orange Bowl. The national championship is fool's gold for you. The SEC has won the last 6 and Alabama is the favorite to make it 7 in a row. You need to go undefeated and have 6 plane crashes to get to the national championship.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

I hope he stays, but it is a business. Who can blame him for trying to better his position in life. If he goes, I hope he does well. But I hope he stays.

I think Dabo has done a superb job. Twenty wins in two years. South Carolina has had our number for the last four years. But things will change and sooner rather than later.

My fear is that Nick Saban will leave Alabama. When that happens, they will come looking for Dabo. Hopefully he will like it here more and realize the legacy he is establishing here can be something special.

Alabama come looking for Dabo.... WOW.... Let me try and make you feel better. I swear to you on your mullet and Howard's rock that no one in the entire state of Alabama will even mention the possibility of Dabo being the next coach at Alabama. Now you can sleep at night.

TrevorT writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Point and laugh. Hilarious. You should take your act on the road. If you think they're winning b/c of Dabo then you shouldn't be concerned at all if Morris leaves. Chad Morris doesn't owe anything to anyone. If Dabo is as great as you say he is then those recruits will not care if Morris leaves. Morris is the highest-paid coordinator in college football, right? That means he already has the resume to be a head coach.

You've got to stop with the knucklehead national championship talk. You have to be the champion of your own state first. You might want to win your conference championship more than once in 20 years also. And then not get rolled in the Orange Bowl. The national championship is fool's gold for you. The SEC has won the last 6 and Alabama is the favorite to make it 7 in a row. You need to go undefeated and have 6 plane crashes to get to the national championship.

Dear Mr. Doodoo,
I promise you the only pointing and laughing on this site is directed toward a troll such as yourself. Why shouldn't a true fan be thinking nc when his team just finished a 10-2 season and is bringing everyone back. Not all fans expect failure from their team, but you wouldn't understand that. Get a life, or at least another message board. No one here is impressed. Maybe you can find an SEC site since that seems to be your team. Wait a minute, is that a team?
Anyway, as for Chad, I wish him the best whatever he decides. This program is rising with or without him. GO TIGERS!

kellytown writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Point and laugh. Hilarious. You should take your act on the road. If you think they're winning b/c of Dabo then you shouldn't be concerned at all if Morris leaves. Chad Morris doesn't owe anything to anyone. If Dabo is as great as you say he is then those recruits will not care if Morris leaves. Morris is the highest-paid coordinator in college football, right? That means he already has the resume to be a head coach.

You've got to stop with the knucklehead national championship talk. You have to be the champion of your own state first. You might want to win your conference championship more than once in 20 years also. And then not get rolled in the Orange Bowl. The national championship is fool's gold for you. The SEC has won the last 6 and Alabama is the favorite to make it 7 in a row. You need to go undefeated and have 6 plane crashes to get to the national championship.

Heydodod I don't know what sec team you are rooting for if you are a Alabama fan yes they have carried the sec for years. as far as championships. And this is what the deal is. as far as National championships CLEMSON has a chrystal Football and if you haven;t seen one in person go to the upstate and look in the trophy case.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to TrevorT:

Dear Mr. Doodoo,
I promise you the only pointing and laughing on this site is directed toward a troll such as yourself. Why shouldn't a true fan be thinking nc when his team just finished a 10-2 season and is bringing everyone back. Not all fans expect failure from their team, but you wouldn't understand that. Get a life, or at least another message board. No one here is impressed. Maybe you can find an SEC site since that seems to be your team. Wait a minute, is that a team?
Anyway, as for Chad, I wish him the best whatever he decides. This program is rising with or without him. GO TIGERS!

What does Northern Illinois, Kent State, Utah State, Boise State, San Jose State, and Louisville have in common with Clemson? Answer: They're all 10-2 or better and in the top 25. Only Clemson is talking about a national championship. 10-2 against Wake Forest and the 7 dwarfs in the ACC isn't worth anything anymore. Your defense made Mike freakin' Glennon look like Tom Brady and you're talking about a national championship? There's 4 SEC teams that are 10-2 or better this year ahead of you in the BCS that are NOT playing for a national championship. South Carolina is 10-2 and beat Clemson for the 4th time in a row. You're not even the best program in your state. Spurrier owns Dabo. All he has to do is mention Clemson and Dabo starts acting like he has Tourettes. Like I said, you have to go undefeated and hope for plane crashes just for the right to get rolled in the BCS championship game. I hope you do join the Big12 so reality slaps you in the face. You're a 7-5 team in a real conference. Just ask WV. You know, the team who put 70 on you and made your players beg for mercy. The truth hurts but it's time to stop staring at your Danny Ford poster while listening to Endless Love in the dark.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to kellytown:

Heydodod I don't know what sec team you are rooting for if you are a Alabama fan yes they have carried the sec for years. as far as championships. And this is what the deal is. as far as National championships CLEMSON has a chrystal Football and if you haven;t seen one in person go to the upstate and look in the trophy case.

Alabama has carried the SEC? LSU: 2003 & 2007 national champions. Florida: 2006 & 2008 naitonal champions. Auburn: 2010 national champions. Sorry, wrong again. The truth hurts.

Can you find your national championship trophy under the 30 years of dust? When I do my tour of visiting irrelevant schools with a national championship trophy, I'll add you to the list... right after I stop by Pittsburgh, Minnesota, BYU, and a couple dozen more schools. Keep living your life in the rear-view mirror.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to sennmanthetigerfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm sure he is Kiper's #1 QB. Playing against Clemson's defense certainly helped him. Glennon's biggest passing game, 493 yards and 5 TDs, came against Clemson. Only the Citadel allowed NC State more points than Clemson. And NC State was a 7-5 team that fired their coach.

kellytown writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

I'm sure he is Kiper's #1 QB. Playing against Clemson's defense certainly helped him. Glennon's biggest passing game, 493 yards and 5 TDs, came against Clemson. Only the Citadel allowed NC State more points than Clemson. And NC State was a 7-5 team that fired their coach.

Hey dodo boy. take your ignorance to a sec web site maybe you can out smart them or maybe they think you are smart which is very likely being that if you took your IQ and times it by 2 you wouldn't be in triple digits. Here's the SEC conf. play football for us dig ditches after you graduate. or deliver pizza's. oh you have to pass the driving test to do that forget the pizza delivery.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to sennmanthetigerfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your comment is telling. You don't follow a team in your own division very closely. You're typical of every Clemson fan I've every seen in that you only follow YOUR team. So of course you think that if your team wins every game on their sorry schedule then they are a national championship caliber team. You say you don't follow NC State that closely but you find out just enough about them to make excuses for your sorry defense. Glennon may be a future NFL QB but the rest of State's offense is dog poop. Of the all-ACC 1st and 2nd team offenses, 1 of their linemen made 2nd team. That's it. That's the offense that put 48 points on you in your own place. You can pretend they're the New England Patriots if it makes you feel better but the truth is that your defense is bad.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to kellytown:

Hey dodo boy. take your ignorance to a sec web site maybe you can out smart them or maybe they think you are smart which is very likely being that if you took your IQ and times it by 2 you wouldn't be in triple digits. Here's the SEC conf. play football for us dig ditches after you graduate. or deliver pizza's. oh you have to pass the driving test to do that forget the pizza delivery.

You might want to open your "Grammar for Dummies" textbook from your days at Clemson before you talk about anyone's IQ.

zilforreal writes:

in response to KIMOSAMI:

I hope he stays, but it is a business. Who can blame him for trying to better his position in life. If he goes, I hope he does well. But I hope he stays.

I think Dabo has done a superb job. Twenty wins in two years. South Carolina has had our number for the last four years. But things will change and sooner rather than later.

My fear is that Nick Saban will leave Alabama. When that happens, they will come looking for Dabo. Hopefully he will like it here more and realize the legacy he is establishing here can be something special.

If you think Dabo has a chance at Bama after Saban leaves, you don't know much about Alabama football. Lets see Dabo beat Spurrier and then assess his ability to coach.

brookesdad729 writes:

Charlie Strong would end up at Bama before Dabo does! I'm orange through and through, but Dabo ain't Bama material even though he went there. He's too soft. They want someone hard nosed and no nonsense at all. That's not a rip on Dabo, he's a good coach, but I don't think he would be a good fit in Bama! Sorry guys! I believe that they would go for someone from the SEC first and foremost. Just my opinion though!

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to sennmanthetigerfan:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Trust me, no one outside of Climpsun is saying CU are the NE pats. What I said was that you're making excuses for your sorry defense by making Glennon and the Wolfpack out to be Tom Brady and the Patriots. I know Climpsun isn't an Ivy league education but can you try to keep up? You can talk about "nuances" all you want. The fact is that a sorry NC State team came into your place and lit up your scoreboard like a Christmas tree. When that happens and your fans start talking about national championships then it just makes you look stupid or delusional. It hasn't even been a calendar year since Clemson gave up 70 points to WV and begged them for mercy.

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