Morris wants Tajh Boyd to play faster
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Offensive coordinator Chad Morris didn't like No. 8 Clemson's tempo in its season-opening win against fifth-ranked Georgia. He put the blame squarely on Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd, and not the Bulldogs' injuries on defense, for interrupting Clemson's offensive flow.
Morris said Monday that Boyd didn't get his eyes to the sideline quickly enough after plays in Clemson's 38-35 win Saturday night. Morris said the team's high-speed offense should have squeezed off another 10-12 plays instead of the 76 snaps the Tigers managed against the Bulldogs.
"We can play faster. Tajh slowed us down a whole bunch. That was some of our biggest downfalls," Morris said. "He played well, he played like a veteran, like he's supposed to play. But as far as the tempo, especially in the third and fourth quarter, he was the one slowing us down because he wasn't getting his eyes to the sidelines quick enough."
Morris said Boyd was simply caught up in the excitement of a highly anticipated game. Still, the two have spoken and Morris said he thinks Boyd will be more attentive and crisper when the Tigers face FCS opponent South Carolina State (0-1) this Saturday at Death Valley.
The offensive coordinator was less concerned about seeing defensive players sprawled on the field with injuries in the midst of Clemson's high-speed drives. It happened at least three times Saturday night, each time Tigers fans booing as the Georgia player received treatment.
The one that drew the most fan reaction was Georgia freshman linebacker Leonard Floyd, who got up and fell back to the turf at Georgia's 40 in the first quarter. Clemson had run off five quick plays, two of which went for first downs.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said he tells players who are injured to stay down until trainers or medical staff arrive. He said Floyd "got hit in his privates real hard," which caused him to drop to the ground after attempting to leave the field.
Morris doesn't doubt Richt's explanation, although he said he's dealt with stealth injuries from the opposition since his high-speed high school days at Lake Travis High in Texas.
"I think you're seeing that more relevant throughout the country," Morris said. "You're seeing teams that are following that suit. It's hard to say. But I think we all see the same thing."
Morris said there's no clear solution because it's nearly impossible to determine if a player is faking an injury.
"You figure that somebody's going to have to do something," Morris said. "But from a liability standpoint, I don't know what you can do. Officially, what would it be, a delay of game or something? Flag somebody for something like that?"
The best way to handle any delay, Morris said, is to act like it never happened and get right back into your offense. That's what the Tigers did after Floyd's injury, finishing off their first touchdown drive on Boyd's 4-yard run to lead 7-0.
Clemson was able to control tempo much of the way, scoring on drives of nine, 11, seven and 12 plays. The Tigers also struck fast when the opportunity arose, with Boyd throwing a 77-yard TD pass to Sammy Watkins on the first play of a drive.
Clemson tailback Rod McDowell said the players don't pay much attention to injuries on the other side and more concerned with the next play they're going to run.
"It's the way you have to think about it," he said.
That's Morris' mindset, too. The Tigers hit 100 snaps in two of their last three games in 2012, and Morris had hoped for a similar energy-sapping effort against Georgia.
Instead, it took too long at times for Boyd to set up for the next play.
"He's carrying his fake out and not getting his eyes around fast enough for us to get three more snaps a game," Morris said. "Those are things you can improve. Those are fixable."
Morris said that Boyd's delays, plus two three-and-out series, cost the Tigers as many as a dozen plays that could have turned a tight contest into a snoozer in the Tigers' favor.
"Those are things that we'll work on," Morris said. "We'll be faster this week."
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press