Offense Breakdown: Maryland edition
CLEMSON — Just another day at the office for Chad Morris’ hurry-up, no-huddle offense. Saturday, Clemson piled up 45 points against the nation’s No.11 total defense, hammering Maryland early and often for a 45-10 victory. It was the Tigers’ ninth consecutive game with at least 37 points, an ACC record, and sixth consecutive victory of 14-plus points.
And it could have been worse for Maryland. Much worse. Junior quarterback Tajh Boyd lost a pair of fumbles, one at the Terrapins’ 2-yard line, and Morris admitted he took his foot off the gas in the second half, simply because he could.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the fast-paced system is rolling right along. Morris discussed his day, Boyd’s effort, and even “happiness camp” with reporters afterward.
On the offense overall: “I thought we did well. I thought we executed well at times. We’ve got to improve on the turnovers. We’ve been just about perfect in the red zone, and today we laid one on the ground. Those are things you’ve got to clear up. Great opportunity. Those guys came through today. We’ve got 14 days left, and that’s what it’s about, staying focused over the next 14 days.”
On playing well against a good defense: “You’re talking about a top-10 defense in the country right there, and I thought they played really well. I thought there were a couple of times where I thought we could have been a little more physical up front. As the game went on we got stronger and stronger against that defensive line, and that was good to see. We knew going against a defense of that caliber, they were going to try and put some pressure on us, so that was good to see.”
Fumbles only major concern: “Without looking at film, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of other concerns that I have. And as we do each week. The turnovers, we’ve got to improve on that. The first (Boyd fumble), he missed a read, laid it on the ground. The second one, the guy hit him pretty hard. But he’s got to do a good job in the red zone area. You can’t be spinning, you’ve got to get down. Do what you can and get down.”
On Boyd overall: “I thought Tajh had a good game. You compare it to the last two weeks where he throws five touchdowns in the first half, I think we’d all say, man. We were close, we had three. Obviously the turnovers. But he’s executing at a high level, he’s operating this system and offense at a high level. Anytime you do that, you’re going to be excited about that.”
On running the plays you want: “It’s all about the way the game goes. You’ve got a great gameplan, you look at your gameplan, everything’s planned out. Then you go in, and the score at the end of the first quarter may change your gameplan a little bit. Some things you worked all week, you wanted to show, you don’t show because you don’t have to. You try to stay simpler, and give guys good execution, just make sure you hit on the fundamentals.”
Did you keep it simple today: “Oh yeah, extremely simple. The second half was an extremely simple game plan for us, just trying to get some guys some good reps. Create more depth. Anytime you can do that late in the season, you’re doing good things.”
On fixing the run game struggles early: “I think a lot of that had to do with them. We knew they were really good up front. Big and physical. I think our guys did a good job. Our tempo wore them down and it allowed us to run the football.”
On N.C. State: “You look at North Carolina State and that’s our next opponent. And these guys, we went up there last year and I thought we played as poorly as we had all year long. And that’s something we’ve talked about, already. That’s something we’ve got to handle ourselves. We’ve got to play with a great passion, we’ve got to keep it going. It doesn’t matter who we play, it’s about us at this point in time. We’ve got to keep pushing each other and holding each other accountable. That’s what’s going to get you through the next 14 days.”
On how the offensive success stems from Boyd’s success: “He’s confident. He’s confident in what he’s doing. Confident in the system, and I think it carries over. When you see that, you see guys having fun. They have fun, coaches have fun. You’re coaching them hard, and it’s not happiness camp out there. We don’t operate happiness camp. But we do have fun out there. The guys are executing the system and doing it at a high level.”