3 Points: Chad Morris can be choosy

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Orange Bowl - Chad Morris

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Orange Bowl - Chad Morris

Analyzing the latest goings-on around TigerTown...

1) What's the rush? – Chad Morris has been the nation's highest-paid coordinator two years running - and he's run one of the nation's top offenses the last three. So, of course, his name is mentioned with every open job (no, every single one).

In this year's carousel, he's reportedly interviewed with Louisville and reportedly was somewhere in the mix for the Arkansas State job. Saturday, the Vanderbilt job officially opened and he's a supposed candidate, because, well – the Commodores wouldn't be real smart if they didn't try.

But Morris can be choosy, and really, it'd be hard to understand why he would take the Vandy job in its current state (good, but certainly still no easy road). He's 45, he's making $1.3 million per year as a coordinator and he's landed quite a few talents to make his Clemson offense go in the near future.

Coming from a Maryland staff in flux, James Franklin wasn't the hot commodity Morris is when he took that job in 2011, but Franklin defied the odds and turned it into a stepping stone for Penn State. Mentor Gus Malzahn took a paycut in 2012 for a head coaching opportunity at Arkansas State and turned it into a stepping stone for an SEC championship run at Auburn last year.

But for every Malzahn, there's a Dan Mullen, who left Florida for Starkville, Miss., and is hitting the 8-9 win ceiling there is at Mississippi State. There's Dana Holgorsen who had the 10-win West Virginia team that beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but now like Mullen, has "hot seat" pop-up Google searching his name, going 11-14 since. Morris can afford to wait for the ideal start-up job, and that one isn't out there right now.

2) No-lose situation for Beasley Dabo Swinney described Vic Beasley's NFL draft decision pretty well last week.

"He doesn't owe us anything," Swinney said. "He owes himself to do what he think is best. Whatever he decides we're good with. Hopefully he's back and and that's a good thing for him and us. If he leaves, I think he's going to do great there too."

Beasley was pretty confident before the Orange Bowl that he was a first-round prospect, but just before making the trip to south Florida, he received a second-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. He's "torn" now, per Swinney, as the Jan. 15 deadline to enter approaches.

Whatever he decides, the star defensive end has shown what he brings to the next level. Beasley can improve his stock by coming back, but he can also post a monster NFL combine and do the same. He has freakish talent that will make its way on a professional field either way – it's just a matter of the numbers behind the dollar sign. I'd say he's a first-rounder either way.

3) Basketball: ACC play will be interesting – Roughly 45 hours passed between the start of Clemson-FSU and the end of Clemson-Duke, and Tiger fans got a glimpse of the two extremes of what this team is capable of. One, a 56-41 loss to the 'Noles, and the other, a 70-59 upset of No. 16 Duke.

"We're not as bad as we were against Florida State and we're not going to play great like this every night," Brad Brownell said. "We're going to be in-between and everybody needs to understand and enjoy these type of days. We've got to learn as a program to grow and try to build on this."

The "in-between" was good enough to take a road win at Boston College, and currently by KenPom's metrics, the Tigers are No. 37 nationally and No. 6 in the ACC with their 11-4 (2-1 ACC) start. Their No. 1 scoring defense (54.6 PPG) is coming off shutting down one of the nation's most efficient offenses in Duke. The Seminoles went on from their Littlejohn triumph to drill Maryland 85-61 Sunday night (16 three-pointers!).

This week will be telling with a couple winnable games (at Virginia Tech, Wed.; hosting Wake Forest, Sat.) that could propel them to early 4-1 start. It's also key because they hit the road for three-straight afterwards (Pitt, Jan. 21; UNC, Jan. 26; FSU, Feb. 1). Clemson's schedule is likely the toughest in the ACC, which rates No. 221 after 15 games but is projected to reach the top-80 by the end of the season (79).

Brownell maintains they are a work in progress going forward.

"Yeah, we haven't fared well against the best teams in the league," Brownell said after Saturday's win, "but I don't think many have. It's one of those situations where we weren't as good. We lost a lot after my first year. We've had to work to build it back. It's going to take even more time. Most people don't want to hear that and I get it.

"That's the way it is if you want to do it the right way. We're the type of guys that are going to recruit guys that are going to be here a while. They're going to have to get experiences like this one."

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Comments » 18

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Brandon Rink - James Franklin was a hot commodity at Maryland. So hot that they had to make him the head coach-in-waiting in order to keep him around as long as they did. You've got the history at Maryland all wrong. Kevin Anderson publicly said that Friedgen was coming back in 2011 just 1 month before Franklin went to Vandy. Franklin went to Vandy and tried to poach several MD coaches. It was then that Anderson changed his mind and fired Friedgen despite him being ACC coach of the year. So there was no sinking ship that Franklin bailed from. If Franklin would've stayed at Maryland then Friedgen and Franklin would've both been coaching at Maryland in 2011.

Why would Morris NOT take the Vandy job? It's an SEC school so it has tons of bowl tie-ins. It's not in the SEC West meat-grinder. Nashville is a fantastic place to live. Vanderbilt has reasonable expectations for success. His salary would AT LEAST double (Franklin was making around $3 million and Vandy was ready to pay him more). Vandy just finished a $31 million renovation. They've got a new indoor practice facility, new offices, new locker rooms, new meeting rooms, and a stadium upgrade. They've got more renovations already in the works. And they're coming off back-to-back 9-4 seasons. This isn't the same job it was 4 years ago and that's why top assistants like Morris, Narduzzi, and Mason as well as current and former head coaches are mentioned for this job.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Brandon Rink - James Franklin was a hot commodity at Maryland. So hot that they had to make him the head coach-in-waiting in order to keep him around as long as they did. You've got the history at Maryland all wrong. Kevin Anderson publicly said that Friedgen was coming back in 2011 just 1 month before Franklin went to Vandy. Franklin went to Vandy and tried to poach several MD coaches. It was then that Anderson changed his mind and fired Friedgen despite him being ACC coach of the year. So there was no sinking ship that Franklin bailed from. If Franklin would've stayed at Maryland then Friedgen and Franklin would've both been coaching at Maryland in 2011.

Why would Morris NOT take the Vandy job? It's an SEC school so it has tons of bowl tie-ins. It's not in the SEC West meat-grinder. Nashville is a fantastic place to live. Vanderbilt has reasonable expectations for success. His salary would AT LEAST double (Franklin was making around $3 million and Vandy was ready to pay him more). Vandy just finished a $31 million renovation. They've got a new indoor practice facility, new offices, new locker rooms, new meeting rooms, and a stadium upgrade. They've got more renovations already in the works. And they're coming off back-to-back 9-4 seasons. This isn't the same job it was 4 years ago and that's why top assistants like Morris, Narduzzi, and Mason as well as current and former head coaches are mentioned for this job.

He was, at one time, a hot commodity...at Maryland (and nowhere else really). The Terps had the chance to hire Franklin if they really wanted to with the relationship with Friedgen on the rocks no matter what they said publicly. Franklin got out of there smartly and was able to land a major gig in just three seasons.

Top assistants are named for the job because top assistants are named for EVERY job. It's just speculation. I said Vandy was a good job, but not necessarily the right fit for Morris and he can afford to wait.

BrandonRink writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

Brandon Rink - James Franklin was a hot commodity at Maryland. So hot that they had to make him the head coach-in-waiting in order to keep him around as long as they did. You've got the history at Maryland all wrong. Kevin Anderson publicly said that Friedgen was coming back in 2011 just 1 month before Franklin went to Vandy. Franklin went to Vandy and tried to poach several MD coaches. It was then that Anderson changed his mind and fired Friedgen despite him being ACC coach of the year. So there was no sinking ship that Franklin bailed from. If Franklin would've stayed at Maryland then Friedgen and Franklin would've both been coaching at Maryland in 2011.

Why would Morris NOT take the Vandy job? It's an SEC school so it has tons of bowl tie-ins. It's not in the SEC West meat-grinder. Nashville is a fantastic place to live. Vanderbilt has reasonable expectations for success. His salary would AT LEAST double (Franklin was making around $3 million and Vandy was ready to pay him more). Vandy just finished a $31 million renovation. They've got a new indoor practice facility, new offices, new locker rooms, new meeting rooms, and a stadium upgrade. They've got more renovations already in the works. And they're coming off back-to-back 9-4 seasons. This isn't the same job it was 4 years ago and that's why top assistants like Morris, Narduzzi, and Mason as well as current and former head coaches are mentioned for this job.

I had "misremembered" that Friedgen wasn't let go before Franklin's heading to Vandy. I had thought that Maryland had at least interviewed him for their job, but I guess not. Here's a good column on the mess Maryland was facing at the time - http://voices.washingtonpost.com/terr...

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

He was, at one time, a hot commodity...at Maryland (and nowhere else really). The Terps had the chance to hire Franklin if they really wanted to with the relationship with Friedgen on the rocks no matter what they said publicly. Franklin got out of there smartly and was able to land a major gig in just three seasons.

Top assistants are named for the job because top assistants are named for EVERY job. It's just speculation. I said Vandy was a good job, but not necessarily the right fit for Morris and he can afford to wait.

You said "But Morris can be choosy, and really, it'd be hard to understand why he would take the Vandy job in its current state (good, but certainly still no easy road). He's 45, he's making $1.3 million per year as a coordinator and he's landed quite a few talents to make his Clemson offense go in the near future."

What is wrong with the current state of Vandy that you can't see why he would take the job?

BrandonRink writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

You said "But Morris can be choosy, and really, it'd be hard to understand why he would take the Vandy job in its current state (good, but certainly still no easy road). He's 45, he's making $1.3 million per year as a coordinator and he's landed quite a few talents to make his Clemson offense go in the near future."

What is wrong with the current state of Vandy that you can't see why he would take the job?

You're certainly welcome to the opinion they can build a powerhouse there, but I don't see it.

With the recruiting base they have in Tennessee and having to battle an instate and in-conference rival for those recruits...I don't see how they rise above being the sixth-best program in the East on a consistent basis. Maybe edge out Missouri for No. 5, but I like where they are positioned moving forward.

I think that's what James Franklin was seeing too. He squeezed as much as he could out of them and turned it into a better gig. That's the best Morris could ask for there, and he can do the same jump-off from the OC job at Clemson.

TigerNE writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

You're certainly welcome to the opinion they can build a powerhouse there, but I don't see it.

With the recruiting base they have in Tennessee and having to battle an instate and in-conference rival for those recruits...I don't see how they rise above being the sixth-best program in the East on a consistent basis. Maybe edge out Missouri for No. 5, but I like where they are positioned moving forward.

I think that's what James Franklin was seeing too. He squeezed as much as he could out of them and turned it into a better gig. That's the best Morris could ask for there, and he can do the same jump-off from the OC job at Clemson.

Doesn't Vandy suffer a similar problem that schools like Duke and GT do with a conflict between football and academics? All three don't have to rely as much on in-state recruiting - maybe GT does more than the others - because of the academic/school draw. But the degree programs that attract that attention also limit the athlete pool to a degree.

Not sure how Morris might cope with that. Certainly Clemson isn't an Ole Miss or SCar when it comes having the classical 'jock majors', but it's very different than Vandy for sure. And it's bound to be on Morris' mind about the job.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

You're certainly welcome to the opinion they can build a powerhouse there, but I don't see it.

With the recruiting base they have in Tennessee and having to battle an instate and in-conference rival for those recruits...I don't see how they rise above being the sixth-best program in the East on a consistent basis. Maybe edge out Missouri for No. 5, but I like where they are positioned moving forward.

I think that's what James Franklin was seeing too. He squeezed as much as he could out of them and turned it into a better gig. That's the best Morris could ask for there, and he can do the same jump-off from the OC job at Clemson.

6 years ago Baylor was an AWFUL job. They hired a good coach and they spent a lot of $ on facilities. Who would've thought 6 years ago that there would come a day where the coach at Baylor wouldn't even pick up the phone when Texas calls? Who would've thought they could EVER win the Big12? Baylor decided to make a serious commitment to football and it is paying off. Vanderbilt is making a similar commitment. Your view of the Vanderbilt job is outdated. The latest news this morning is that they're interviewing NFL offensive coordinators. There's a ton of interest in this job. The in-state recruits thing is overblown. Most of Vandy's roster is made-up of kids from FL and GA and they beat both FL and GA this year. If Franklin can recruit a competitive SEC team then why can't the next coach do the same or better considering Vanderbilt is continuing to spend money on facilities? The SEC East is nowhere near the meat-grinder that the SEC West is. The traditional powers in the SEC East are deeply flawed. There's no reason why a good coach with continued support from the university couldn't make Vanderbilt compete at or near the top of the SEC East.

You're just dead wrong about Chad Morris being able to be choosy. I know he's interviewed in the past for Texas Tech, Louisville, and NC State. But he wasn't offered the job at any of those places. NC State didn't offer him the job b/c unlike Dave Doeren, Morris has never been a college head coach. Has he been offered a job anywhere and has it been a job as good as Vanderbilt? It's kind of hard to be choosy when you're getting interviews but not offers. There's way too many good candidates out there in college football and the NFL for Morris to turn down good head coaching jobs. You can have the opinion that Morris can stay at Clemson and some "football powerhouse" is going to call one day and entrust their football program to a guy who has never run a football program. But I don't see it. Will Muschamp hires are the rare exception, not the rule. Those types of programs hire guys who 1) have been a head coach, 2) have run an offense or defense in the NFL, or 3) have been a successful assistant at that school before.

clemvol writes:

I believe the "choosy" part for Morris is the reality that he would not want to go to Vandy and not meet the expectations that Franklin installed. Anything less then Morris would be considered a failure. I would think most would consider following a coach where the program was considered down for a while then build a successful program. We have one in state school here ( and we know who ) where they have been down for years, don't expect a lot, no major championships to speak of, just beat your rival on a consistent basis and they are happy as a pig in slop. Doesn't matter how much money they have to pay. That being said, yes Morris can be "choosy" and "hesitant" until he learns how to beat the big boys.

BrandonRink writes:

Baylor was an awful job...in Texas. Vanderbilt is in Tennessee. That's apples and oranges. RGIII was UT reject...Bryce Petty was a the other UT reject. You think Art Briles is bringing either one of them to Vandy back in the day?

Vandy can be a solid program, but unless Florida/Georgia/USC all fall off the map - they aren't winning SEC titles there in the near future. If these facilities to make a huge impact, then maybe, but I'd rather be the coach with all of them already in place than waiting on them.

Morris may not get a Texas or a USC or some ginormous program job out of Clemson, but he can get a better fit for his style and coaching experience than Vandy. Somewhere in Texas, whether he does start at a Houston or a SMU or it's his alma mater TAMU down the road - it makes a lot more sense for a guy who's only 45 to not jump at the first Big Five school to offer him a job.

clemvol writes:

Morris is no where near a "Big 5 coach..........neither is Dabo

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

Baylor was an awful job...in Texas. Vanderbilt is in Tennessee. That's apples and oranges. RGIII was UT reject...Bryce Petty was a the other UT reject. You think Art Briles is bringing either one of them to Vandy back in the day?

Vandy can be a solid program, but unless Florida/Georgia/USC all fall off the map - they aren't winning SEC titles there in the near future. If these facilities to make a huge impact, then maybe, but I'd rather be the coach with all of them already in place than waiting on them.

Morris may not get a Texas or a USC or some ginormous program job out of Clemson, but he can get a better fit for his style and coaching experience than Vandy. Somewhere in Texas, whether he does start at a Houston or a SMU or it's his alma mater TAMU down the road - it makes a lot more sense for a guy who's only 45 to not jump at the first Big Five school to offer him a job.

In the 12 years that Baylor was in the Big12 before Art Briles got there they went through 4 head coaches and averaged just less than 3 wins per year. That's horrible no matter what state you're in. I don't know what your point is in saying RG3 and Petty are "UT rejects". That should speak to UT's poor talent evaluation since they haven't had a stable QB situation since Colt McCoy. Briles didn't recruit RG3 to Baylor, he recruited him to Houston. He decided to follow Briles to Baylor when he took the job but he wasn't considering Baylor prior to that. Given that, I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that he might've followed Briles to Vanderbilt. Tennessee and Stanford were on his short list so academics and the state of Tennessee were already on his mind. And if he chose Baylor then clearly he wasn't afraid of going someplace that had never won before. Baylor's facilities were embarrassing prior to Briles. They opened a brand new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility in 2010. They're moving into a brand-new stadium next year. Baylor isn't going anywhere. If Art Briles leaves tomorrow they will have their pick of great coaches lining up to coach there. Vanderbilt is certainly capable of having similar success if they continue to invest in football.

I don't know why you're so scared of the SEC East. No one's dominating that division. Franklin made them competitive in that division the moment he took over. Now they're building facilities. Do you think James Franklin is a better coach than Morris? You don't think Morris could do better? Franklin and Morris both run exciting offenses so I don't see how Vanderbilt or their players wouldn't "fit his style". You mention SC as one that has to fall "off the map" and yet I remember Spurrier publicly whining when he got there that he needed a financial commitment to facilities in order to win. He got it, they're winning. If the lowly chickens can do it, then Vanderbilt can do it. And you can give up on this TX A&M thing. They're not hiring a coordinator from Clemson as a 1st-time head coach. That job's bigger than ever before. If he wants to be a head coach at a TX A&M or a Penn State, then he needs to take the Vandy job... IF he can get it.

It's funny how "Morris can be choosy" is your headline and yet you're telling him to settle for Houston or SMU (Houston's head coach makes less $ than Morris). We both know if he was interviewing at either of those schools you'd be writing a story with the same headline telling him to wait for a better job. It may be a moot point b/c he can only seem to get interviews and not offers. And if that's the case, it's rather hard to be choosy.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to clemvol:

Morris is no where near a "Big 5 coach..........neither is Dabo

I disagree. Morris is, Dabo isn't. The similarities b/t Dabo-Morris and Chizik-Malzahn are frightening. Both cases of an offensive genius working for an intellectual lightweight.

BrandonRink writes:

I write things and you're reading something else. It's cool though because we're not agreeing anyway. I see Vandy as a stepping-stone job, as Franklin used it, and like a non-Big Five in Texas. Obviously he should set his sights higher, but maybe you're right - maybe he won't get that big call out of an OC job. He apparently interviewed for Louisville, which would've been a decent spot.

We'll see. What I've maintained from the article to the comments is Vandy isn't a job Morris has to jump for or his stock will fall through the floor. It's good, but Franklin did wonders to make the headway he did. He hit the ceiling and left. Morris can do that elsewhere.

kellytown writes:

I had heard that Morris had went To Dabo about the OC job at Texas and ask Dabo if he would be willing to lower his buyout money to leave Clemson to take the OC job at Texas and Dabo said no. Has anyone heard this it was on 107.5 yesterday as I was driving home. the reason I am asking is maybe Chad will be looking to leave next year I don't know the conditions of his contract this is his 4 year coming up and with Dabo not lowering the buyout on his contract will he leave at the end of next year? I think that Dabo needs to start looking for a replacement because if this is true and from all the things I have heard this did happen between the coaches that Chad is looking to get back to his home state.And if he could have had his buyout lowered he would have went.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to BrandonRink:

I write things and you're reading something else. It's cool though because we're not agreeing anyway. I see Vandy as a stepping-stone job, as Franklin used it, and like a non-Big Five in Texas. Obviously he should set his sights higher, but maybe you're right - maybe he won't get that big call out of an OC job. He apparently interviewed for Louisville, which would've been a decent spot.

We'll see. What I've maintained from the article to the comments is Vandy isn't a job Morris has to jump for or his stock will fall through the floor. It's good, but Franklin did wonders to make the headway he did. He hit the ceiling and left. Morris can do that elsewhere.

No I read what you wrote. You suggested Morris should turn down Vanderbilt for a job like Houston or SMU b/c Mark Richt, Will Muschamp, and Steve Spurrier are too scary. I've yet to find a coach who's not type-A, competitive, egotistical, love a challenge (and getting paid). Coaches don't believe in ceilings. At Vandy he could be a head coach competing at the highest level of college football, get paid a MINIMUM of $3 million per year, and be in the best football venues every single week. Or he can get paid maybe half that and play road games at Temple, Memphis, and Connecticut. You're certainly entitled to your opinion but just know that you're in a very small minority.

When you say crazy things like he should turn down Vandy for a job like Houston or SMU, it looks as if you're desperately trying to rationalize any reason you can for him to stay. It makes you sound like 1 of the Clemson fans mentioned here:

http://www.shakinthesouthland.com/201...

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

in response to kellytown:

I had heard that Morris had went To Dabo about the OC job at Texas and ask Dabo if he would be willing to lower his buyout money to leave Clemson to take the OC job at Texas and Dabo said no. Has anyone heard this it was on 107.5 yesterday as I was driving home. the reason I am asking is maybe Chad will be looking to leave next year I don't know the conditions of his contract this is his 4 year coming up and with Dabo not lowering the buyout on his contract will he leave at the end of next year? I think that Dabo needs to start looking for a replacement because if this is true and from all the things I have heard this did happen between the coaches that Chad is looking to get back to his home state.And if he could have had his buyout lowered he would have went.

This has been all over the internet. This rumor has legs. TX has the NCAA's richest athletic dept. If anyone can possibly pay the buyout, it's TX. But I think it's too much for even them. I doubt this will happen.

YabbaDaboDooDoo writes:

Doesn't matter now anyway. Morris appears to have never been seriously considered since Mason has been mentioned for this job the most since the beginning.

http://espn.go.com/college-football/s...

Now we can all sit around and wait for that Houston or SMU job to open up. I can't wait for that Brandon Rink article.

clemvol writes:

in response to YabbaDaboDooDoo:

I disagree. Morris is, Dabo isn't. The similarities b/t Dabo-Morris and Chizik-Malzahn are frightening. Both cases of an offensive genius working for an intellectual lightweight.

It's always good to agree to disagree. I always respect this but after Vandy has now made their decision I continue to believe that Morris is sill far from being seasoned enough for a head coach at a big 5 school or big 10 school.

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