CLEMSON - Monday afternoon's player interviews from the West End Zone.
Mondays with Morris
Have you sat back and thought what it would be like to play Tig Willard at quarterback?
Morris: I don't even want to go there. I don't even want to go there. That's definitely something you don't wish on anybody.
What was your evaluation on the backup offensive linemen?
Morris: I thought they did really well. I was very pleased with the progress of some of those guys that we've really tried to push. Some of those guys that have been battling on second team, Isaiah Battle, for example. Isaiah, I thought he played exceptionally well, very athletic, very physical. That was really good to see. Our challenge to him now is he's got to remain consistent. From that maturity level, he's got to continue to grow, grow up and mature, take this as a step in the right direction for him. He's got to remain consistent. That's a big challenge for him, as well. Kalon Davis was probably the next one in that line of being a pleasant surprise.
I really challenged our offensive line on Tuesday or Wednesday, whatever day Halloween was. I really challenged them all at the end of practice. I was very disgruntled with the way we didn't do things that I thought was just lackadaisical, really lethargic. I just didn't sense the urgency that we needed to have. Had an opportunity to challenge them. It was good to see. I told them I could care less if anybody got any trick or treat candy that night. In fact, the coaches' kids were out there trick or treating with the players. I told them I hoped the defensive kids took all the candy, because they didn't deserve any that day. It was just a challenge to get those guys something to get them going, because we're going to need that. We're going to need that over the final 19 days that we have.
I told them at that point, we're going to run the football Saturday night. We're going to start out running the football Saturday night and we're going to put it on you guys. If we go three-and-out, we're going to go three-and-out because we ran the ball three-straight times and I would be very disappointed when they go to the sidelines, if that was the case. They responded.
Kalon Davis was one of them that was good to see. Ryan Norton has gotten in. He played quite a bit. Dalton Freeman has played exceptionally well. Brandon Thomas probably had his best game. You see that as a collective group, we need that. We need that for this final push.
How many snaps did Eric Mac Lain get at tackle and how'd he do?
Morris: I don't know the exact snap count on it, but he did play some. He did a good job. He's got a lot of fundamentals, a lot of technique that he's got to continue to work on, and he knows it. He's getting a lot of reps in practice. I think he's definitely going to be a very good ball player for us.
Do you have to do anything to keep them from getting complacent?
Morris: Before we talk about anything with Maryland, you're talking about a defense that's the second-best defense we've seen to this point in time. Obviously, Florida State, because we played them, that's the best defense. Of course, we'll gauge all that afterwards. But this is one of the top defenses in the country. They're ranked 11 in the country. Their scheme is very sound, and we've got our hands full. I don't know anything about the other side of the ball, because I don't watch that side. But I do know this side of the ball we've got our hands full. They've got some very good players. Their defensive front is as sound as we've seen in quite some time, so we've got our hands full right there.
What did you take from Tajh Boyd's game the other day?
Morris: Tajh is a guy, he's having fun. I think that's No. 1. He's having fun. And a guy that has that has that much pressure on you, as being a quarterback, because I've said it since I got here. It's a big deal to be quarterback for the Clemson Tigers. And we want it to be a big deal. With that comes pressure. He and I had a long talk at the start -- I don't remember what day it was. We were riding to practice together. We just kind of talked about, do you feel like you have to be perfect, sometimes we all feel like we have to be perfect and we don't. I feel like that sometimes, you feel like you have to call the perfect game, you have to be perfect, and it's not going to happen. At some point, you've got to go have fun. I really talked to him about that. I think you see Tajh Boyd having fun. I think he's extremely accurate on his deep ball. We work on that a lot. He's confident in what he's doing and he's running confident. I told him he actually kind of looks fast. He said he was fast.
From what Maryland does, what do you expect to see out of them?
Morris: They're going to give you different looks. They're going to bring a lot of pressure. Their defensive front is sound, they're strong, they're big. They're going to mix up their coverages behind and try to disguise that. They've got a new coordinator. Their scheme is extremely sound in what they do. He's done a really good job, a really good job. We've got our hands full with them.
How serious is Cole Stoudt's sternum injury?
Morris: Well, I don't know. He was in meetings today. We're going to reevaluate him this afternoon. I think he could get out there and hand the ball off. I don't know. I haven't seen him throw a ball yet. I know he was in a lot of pain after the game, so we'll see.
Any issues with Andre Ellington?
Morris: I think, the one thing with Andre, as the game went, that's one thing we kept talking about. Could he get in and play, if we felt like we had to have him? We felt like he could. But there was no sense in pressing the issue. I'm very proud of those guys that got in behind him, D.J. Howard and Hot Rod McDowell, those guys to be able to step in and absorb the role. It was kind of a running back by committee. You saw them coming in and out, rotating around. That was good to see. Zac Brooks, I mentioned him a little bit earlier, a pleasant surprise to see him. He's only going to get better. He's bigger, stronger as the year goes, looking forward to his future.
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