Morris: Tiger vets' focus has to improve

Clemson football - Rod McDowell

Photo by Mark Crammer

Clemson football - Rod McDowell

Going into the week and a half break until the ACC opener, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris was happy to have the extra time to assess where the Tigers are after two games.

First target in his sights? His veterans. More from Morris’ session breaking down the Tiger offense…

Was the offense crisp enough?: Last week, no, absolutely not. I don’t think we played with the near the energy we need to play with, especially our older guys. We weren’t very physical in some positions. I didn’t we came out and performed like we needed to play. I was disappointed with the fourth-and-one and that kind of set the tone and kind of gave everybody a bad taste in their mouth. That was unacceptable, but that’s OK, it was a great teaching point and will be great tape for those guys. The positive of it was there some younger guys that were ready to go. When their time came, they performed and did a good job. There was a lot of positives out of it and I’m pretty positive that we’re going to motivate them pretty good this week.

Hopper performs with coaches' trust

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Balancing rest and rhythm last Saturday going into the N.C. State matchup: It’s kind of a double-edged sword. It was good to get them some rest and some reps early, but I didn’t think we got any flow. I didn’t think the first group had any continuity. So that’d be a concern going into next Thursday night. We’ve got to do a good job of straining them pretty hard and coaching them extremely hard which we will. They’ll be ready to go.

Team’s focus: Nobody on our team is good enough to not focus in on football and perform on a consistent basis. We don’t have that. They don’t have that on Sundays either. Those guys have to think about football and perform on a daily basis and to me that’s what was as disappointing as anything. Our older guys didn’t perform at the level they should have performed – period. I thought they stunk in some cases. And you know what, some younger guys were ready and focused – it’ll be good, real good (this week).

McDowell’s follow-up to the breakout game versus Georgia (pre-concussion): I don’t think his focus was there either. I don’t think he had good focus and when to know the situation of the game, whether it’s third-and-short and instead of going and getting it - you try to dance and leave us in fourth-and-short. Or it’s fourth-and-short and going in and diving for a first down instead of trying to shake and not convert on fourth down.

Tajh Boyd’s performance was lacking as well: I don’t think he ever got in the flow of the game. Every ball he was looking throw was the big ball. He was trying to make the long throw or the tough throw or the deep throw. He wasn’t taking what they gave him and that was the underneath stuff. Those were the things that were wide-open that if we hit a couple of those everything else opens up. I think from the start we could never get in a groove or rhythm. I think that had a lot to do with it.

Offense Breakdown: Through 2 weeks

N.C. State a motivator

How the backup o-line fared Saturday versus S.C. State: Did I feel like someone competed enough to earn a starting job? No, not yet. Does it warrant a guy playing more in the course of the game or motivated enough to perform better in a practice role to push better for a starting role? Absolutely. That’s what you hope you see out of it.

Anyone in particular stand out?: Isaiah Battle, I thought he played extremely physical. He’s a guy that’s gaining confidence and still has a long way to go. He’s taking steps in the right direction. Kalon Davis was a guy that stepped in Tyler Shatley and did a really good job. It was probably one of our more sound performances of our offensive line group. I’m excited to see him and he gives us some depth there. Patrick DeStefano got some playing time and did some good things. Jay Guillermo was another one that got in and got some playing time. It was a great day to get guys plenty of reps and to try to gain some confidence and to possibly use them throughout the season if needed.

Cole Stoudt's Saturday:Cole is determined and focused and really the one incompletion was his fault. He kind of overthrew the guy. He’s had a really big spring and kind of dialed back in and came into fall camp and looked polished. He operates within the system and just takes what’s there. That’s what you have to do, and because of that, that’s what you saw out there going 19-of-20. I’m excited about that.

Cole got some valuable reps and Chad got some valuable reps. We’re just trying to get some experience for those guys and get them reps when we can.

Handling top-3 hype: We’re 2-0. We’ve got off to a good start four years in a row. That’s all it is at this point. Obviously it’s out there for everybody to see and talk about and it make a great conversation piece at the coffee shop but that’s all it is – 2-0. It’s not going to be the first two games we’re going to be remembered for I can promise you that.

Thursday matchup makes it an extended game week: Not an off week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we’ll be working out and it will be very physical practices. We’re getting them ready to go for next week. It will be a great opportunity to get better. We’ve got a long way to go. We obviously have a lot of things to work on, as everybody in the country does, but I’m not worried about everyone in the country. I’m worried about us and how we can get better. We have to really hone in our self.

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