In preparing Tigers' offensive game plan, Morris says more is not always better

'The more time you've got, the more stuff you think you need to add...You've got to be really careful with that'

KEN RUINARD/INDEPENDENT MAIL PHOTO
Clemson’s Tajh Boyd smiles while Clemson’s Chad Morris talks about his legacy at the school, during a Monday morning Discover Orange Bowl press conference in the Embassy Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Photo by Ken Ruinard, Anderson Independent Mail, S.C.

KEN RUINARD/INDEPENDENT MAIL PHOTO Clemson’s Tajh Boyd smiles while Clemson’s Chad Morris talks about his legacy at the school, during a Monday morning Discover Orange Bowl press conference in the Embassy Suites hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

With extra time to prepare, Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell is expecting Clemson's Chad Morris to throw a few new wrinkles at the Buckeyes when the teams meet Friday night in the Discover Orange Bowl.

Morris, however, shows little inclination to reinvent the wheel for the Tigers' bowl game. He learned long ago, as a cutting-edge high school coach who soaked up new ideas like a sponge, that there's a trap in trying to do too much.

"Time is a coach's enemy," said Morris this week during an Orange Bowl press conference. "Maybe this is just the high school coach in me, but if you've got more time, you feel like you've got to add more stuff. The more time you've got, the more stuff you think you need to add, because you think that's coaching. You've got to be really careful with that.

"When I was younger in this profession, I felt like that was the way you did it. We've got two weeks to prepare. How much stuff can we put in in two weeks? And you wind up getting your tail kicked because you can't get good at any of it.

"So one of the things that I've really learned along the way is, yes, there are a lot of great ideas and there's a lot of people doing a lot of great things out there, but you have to get good at what you do."

For Clemson, that means taking care of the football, playing with an aggressive physicality up front, making plays in the passing game, and running with toughness and purpose.

Morris says that Clemson's offensive game-planning routine allows for a free exchange of ideas among coaches, based on film study and past experiences. But his guiding rule is that the Tigers can't do everything in every game, even if it means leaving good ideas on the table.

"Some of our staff bring some really good ideas in, and we may not use them, but if we do, we usually try to throw something out," Morris said. "We've been we've been very fortunate with our staff. We've been together now for three seasons without any change in our offensive staff, and that's been huge - that continuity is huge, huge in this business and being able to have guys that stay with us.

"Like you do with many organizations, probably in your business as well, everybody's got their own ideas, everybody's got their own opinions. If you used every one of them, you'd be good at nothing."

Morris described a typical regular-season game week for Clemson's offensive coaches:

"We roll in Sunday afternoon and we'll start watching half of the opponent's last ball game. We like watch a half of that game and then try to watch a half of another game before we have a big staff meeting. We'll come back after our big staff meeting and try to finish it up and kind of have a generalization.

"We have what we call a 'ready list' we put on the board, all our formations and the plays we like off of them. We try to work on that on Mondays. Monday is a day we split up, and each one's got their own little segments of things they have to work on and report back to me that Monday afternoon with their ideas.

"Tuesdays are usually the long days for me. Tuesdays are a big third-down day. I try to spend a time during the day on our third downs. And then at night, it's usually a long night. I usually let the staff go about 9. I stay up there with a couple of GAs until 2 of 2:30 in the morning, finishing up and getting everything ready.

"On Wednesday, we start putting it all together. Thursdays are our final play-polish. On Friday it's walk-through, but everybody has their own little areas."

After the Orange Bowl, and before spring practice begins, the staff will meet as a group for a review of the season, re-evaluation of what has worked and what hasn't, and general brainstorming.

"We take time at the end of the year to go back and reevaluate and to see, okay, do we need to take and throw some things out?" Morris said. "Let's go look at some of these other things, some other ideas we may have had through the course of the season, and let's expand on them."

Sharing ideas with other staffs is also part of the growth process. While there is a free sharing of ideas, however, no one gives away all their secrets.

"What you do is you try to go with guys that you trust," Morris said. "That's one thing Coach Swinney allows us to do is to be able to go and visit with people all over the country and take our staff to be able to get something good. Two years ago we went out to Nevada and visited with their staff and spent four days with them. This past year, we were able to visit with Coach (Todd) Graham at Arizona State. So we went and visited with those guys.

"It's really good when you're able to talk the same language to different staffs, like us and Arizona State. Basically, you have to speak the same language to be able to go out and talk.

"Obviously, there's my relationship with Coach (Gus) Malzahn. We talk weekly and have been doing that since he was in high school coaching.

"So sharing ideas, whether it's through a text, whether it's through a phone call, you're asking 'What do you think of this? What do you think of that?' Your mind is constantly running. I've got a notepad beside my bed and just constantly something will come up, a great idea. I'll write it down. I may be texting our staff early in the morning or late at night going, 'Hey, what do you think of this?'

"I'm kind of a wiry guy like that."

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Comments » 3

BlueRidgeBengal writes:

please leave any gameplan at home that includes Sammy throwing the ball. if we are driving to score, NO wide receiver passes. if something is working then make them stop it. dont try to be so balanced that you drift away from success.

brookesdad729 writes:

"The more time you've got, the more stuff you think you need to add, because you think that's coaching. You've got to be really careful with that." Chad Morris
Well that's what you've been doing all year dude! Simplify and get rid of the "crazy" plays!

Xander5000 writes:

There are bigger games at the end of each year that you can go all out for. This game ranks high on the list because of who you are playing and most important who you are---and thats the Clemson Tigers. Because this is not for all the marbles and because you lost again to your state rival you should go all out. As a matter of fact some of you should go all out because its some of y'all's last stand...your last go around as a Clemson Tiger. For some of you its a building block to next season. For these very reasons not only should a Clemson program go all out they should be mad and play mad. Be mad, play mad because all our goals were not accomplished this season. Be mad, play mad because there are folks out there who still don't and won't respect The Clemson Tigers. Be mad, play mad because you feel you have been robbed and slighted of a magical season. Be mad, play mad but play smart and be smart out there tonight.

Offense the chance of shredding through their defense to get first downs and scores is here tonight. Take it and hold on tight to all your advantages and opportunities. Having said that lets not get crazy and cute with our offensive plays. We have too much talent for all that smoke and mirror stuff. Lets slice them, dice them, shred them running and passing and move on like we know what we are doing.

Defense I hope your cardiovascular is up tonight because there is going to be a lot chasing and hitting with high impact collisions. You guys are basically up against a big but slippery quarterback and a powerful but slippery running back. Don't let them get loose and most of all don't let them make you look silly.

Win this thing tonight. Win it for yourselves. Win it for your families. Win it for us the fans. And Win it for Clemson, South Carolina.

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