CLEMSON – Chad Morris has seen it at every level he’s coached versus his offense.
He definitely saw it as the Tigers reached the 80s then 90s and finally triple digits in snaps against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
This past Saturday and displayed in videos gone ‘round the internet, injuries just seemed to be popping up to break the Tigers' offensive tempo.
Living in infamy on YouTube currently – and addressed by both Clemson and Georgia’s head coaches – is Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd’s case.
After taking a hit to the – in Mark Richt’s words – “private parts,” Floyd is shown walking off the field then doing a 180 and dropping to the ground when a teammate touches him on the shoulder.
DeStefano relishing playing time
Richt said their policy in that particular case is if there’s an injury to “stay down,” and therefore not give the offense a chance to take advantage of the sudden substitution.
Notably picking his words carefully, Clemson offensive coordinator Morris addressed the topic in broad strokes Monday.
“You’re seeing that more relevant throughout the country,” he said. “You’re seeing teams that are falling into that suit. I think we all see the same thing.”
He is on board with the NCAA taking a look and assessing a “delay of game” type penalty on the defensive end.
“When I was at Tulsa we ran into the same thing, those are just things that you (deal with),” he said. “Obviously our tempo is going pretty good when people are doing that to us. Anyways, I’m worried about (Clemson).”
On that topic and also pace, he wasn’t completely pleased with Tajh Boyd’s handling of the game tempo Saturday.
“Tajh slowed us down a whole bunch. Some of his biggest downfalls – he played well no doubt,” Morris said of the senior, who accounted for 312 total yards and five touchdowns. “He played like a veteran. Like he’s supposed to play, but as far as the tempo in the third and fourth quarter he was the one slowing us down.
“He wasn’t getting his eyes to the sideline quick enough so those are the things we have to improve on.”
The Tigers lined up to snap it 79 times, but were knocked down to 76 officially for penalties. Just how many opportunities were lost?
“I’m being really picky in grading him in that regard. He’s just not getting his eyes around quick enough for us to get three snaps a game,” said Morris. “I said to Tajh, ‘We could have got three more snaps a game – maybe five if you would get your eyes around quicker on us.’”
Also in the Clemson offensive coordinator’s sights was drops – six of them – and in some key situations.
“We’ve got too many drops. We can improve that,” Morris said. “That’s kind of been uncharacteristic of us this spring and fall. We know what our receiving corps has done and they had a good fall camp.
“You’re going to have drops – you can’t have six drops, especially in critical situations that could have led to more points.”
A repeat offender was junior receiver Martavis Bryant, who after a monster offseason earned his first start since October 2011 against Georgia. As the game closed though, he wasn’t shy to step in front of Sammy Watkins to recover the game-clinching onside kick.
“That might have been the biggest one of all," Morris said. "I’d much rather him drop all the others and catch that one. He’s going to get better and I’m not worried about him at all.”
On the positive side, Morris was a fan of the Clemson running game, which nearly topped 200 yards (197) with five runs of 10 or more yards. That was a byproduct of having an experienced offensive line, the Tigers OC said, which “graded pretty well” in tape review Monday.
“The offensive line took a lot of pride in it and they’re four veteran guys upfront,” he said. “Again, when you have veteran guys you ask them to play like veterans and to be able to control the line of scrimmage. We’re still a little weak in pass protection issues, but we’ll get that cleaned up.
“Running the ball was definitely a part of the success we had and really contributed to our success throughout the night.”