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December 30, 2013
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR:¬† With that, we will open up with Coach Morris, the Offensive Coordinator at Clemson University.
Coach, you've been here now for 24 hours, back for a second year in a row.¬† How different is this year versus last year coming back to the Discover Orange Bowl?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Coming back, it's great to be back.¬† We want to thank the Orange Bowl staff and the committee.¬† The hospitality is absolutely the best.¬† We appreciate that.¬† We have been, I guess, in Miami now for almost 24 hours.¬† It's been a great experience to this point.
We're excited to be back, two times in the last three years to be back and excited about this opportunity to play a great Ohio State football team.¬† Very sound team, one of the top teams in the country, probably a play or two away from playing for the National Championship.¬† It's a great honor to be playing against such an opponent.
We're excited about the challenge we have ahead of us, offensively, with these two guys sitting on my right.¬† We're obviously excited about their performance to this point in the season, and I know these guys are ready to get back on the field.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We have Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins with us as well.¬† We'll now open it up for questions.
Q.¬† Coach, this is for you as well as Sammy.¬† How do you think you've evolved, and how do you think Sammy's evolved from two years ago when you were here and Sammy was a freshman?
COACH MORRIS:¬† You know, his freshman year, Sammy was kind of‑‑ nobody knew about Sammy Watkins.¬† He was just kind of coming on the scene and had a great freshman year, was freshman All‑American.¬† Took a little bit of a step back last year, not maybe necessarily to his standard.¬† 700 yards receiving for a receiver is a pretty good year, but to his standard, a year ago wasn't where he was his freshman year.
And to watch him evolve and to watch him the way he prepared himself this summer and through spring football and into fall camp‑‑ you know, one thing that Sammy and I talked about last spring was he wanted to get back into the elite shape that he was in his freshman year.¬† He felt like that may have hindered him the year before, his sophomore year.
So to watch him come back and to get into that elite shape that he was in and explosiveness that he has, I think we definitely have seen Sammy play his best football that he's been in his career for us as Clemson Tigers.
The thing that stands out about Sammy is just his explosiveness and his ability to go up and he just snatches or just grabs the ball out of the air.¬† Great, strong hands, and you can almost hear the ball being plucked out of the air with Sammy.¬† So to watch him evolve over the last three years, it's been a great ride and excited about this game with him this Friday night.
Q.¬† Sammy, can you elaborate on this?
SAMMY WATKINS:¬† Just same thing Coach said.¬† I definitely evaluated myself throughout the course of the year, and I listened to the things that they wanted me to do.
Me and Tajh worked hard over the off‑season.¬† As a player standpoint, I think I grew as a mature player just learning the game, and the coaches and the players definitely helped me out in the off‑season.
Now I would definitely say I'm prepared for the big game, and I'm ready to put on a show this upcoming game.
Q.¬† This one's for Tajh.¬† Is it‑‑ you were pretty close with Ohio State.¬† I know they were in the hunt with you all the way back in the recruiting process.¬† Surreal to see them in this game in the Orange Bowl?¬† And how close were you at that time, and where was Ohio State in the mix when you ended up making your decision?
TAJH BOYD:¬† My recruiting process was pretty wild kind of deal.¬† If I would have committed at the Army All‑American game during my recruiting process, I would have been a Buckeye right now.
But getting the chance to go down there and meet Roderick McDowell and meet Malliciah Goodman, those guys like that, really kind of helped change the course of it.¬† Definitely feel like this is the best spot for me.¬† I couldn't have picked a better school.
It is kind of surreal to end your final game as a Clemson Tiger against Ohio State.¬† It's going to be a fun matchup, and I can't wait.
Q.¬† Tajh, I'm sure you've talked about this for four weeks, so I apologize.¬† Just how much of a motivating factor is it for you to be back in this game given what happened the last time you guys were in this game?
TAJH BOYD:¬† You know, they always say you remember it's your last game.¬† Obviously, this isn't the last game, but this is our last trip here.¬† What happened before was disappointing.¬† I think it was a learning experience for us.
If you look back at it and look at the roster, the team was so young.¬† It was inexperienced.¬† We'd never been in a situation like that before, so we really didn't know how to handle the situation.
Coming back here for the second time in three years is definitely an honor.¬† It's a blessing for us.¬† We're just going to try to take full advantage of it, make sure we understand what we're here to do.¬† It's going to be a fun trip.¬† It's going to be a fun experience, but we're here to come and try to win a ball game.¬† So we're going to do everything we can to make sure we do that.
Q.¬† For Tajh, I think you said yesterday a lot of people are calling this a legacy game for you.¬† What do you call it?
TAJH BOYD:¬† You know, just it's more of a finisher.¬† I think, when you start adding legacies and things of that nature, I think that's what people kind of incorporate and what they make it to be.
Honestly, for me it's all about just trying to make sure it's the best game that I played this far.¬† It's more so not just for me, but for this program and this university.
Obviously, a win in a Bowl game adds momentum, it adds a fuel to you during the off‑season.¬† So it's important for me personally to go out here and try to get a victory.¬† It's also important for this team and what they're trying to accomplish next year as well.
Will people remember this game as the sole game that kind of let me out?¬† I'm not sure.¬† That's kind of for other people to say.
Q.¬† Tajh, this is for you.¬† Ohio State in the Championship Game had some problems with their pass defense.¬† They've struggled in the past couple games going back to Michigan and before.¬† What do you see, as an offense, that you can take advantage of or that defense that you can‑‑ you know.
TAJH BOYD:¬† With any team, whenever you have an opportunity to go out and make a play, you have to take advantage of it.
Obviously, their past few games, as far as the pass defense collectively, it hasn't been their best game.¬† I'm sure Coach Meyer and all of those guys are doing everything in their power to make sure they adjust to it and figure out a way to correct it.
Again, for us, we just want to go out and operate our system, what we're trying to do.¬† When you start going out there and trying to figure out ways to do certain things and not what you're doing, essentially, it kind of just puts you on the shelf a little bit.
So when we go out here, we execute the system, we do what we're coached to do, I think we can go out here and have anything we want.
Again, they're a great program.¬† They're 24‑1 over two years, and they're going to do everything they can to possibly win this game as well.
Q.¬† Coach, minus this game, what should Tajh Boyd's legacy be at Clemson?¬† How should people remember him?¬† And then, Sammy, when he gets done, tell me what you think Tajh is like.
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think you look at Tajh, you look at his career, while we all see what Tajh‑‑ and what you all see that Tajh does on the field 99 percent, very, very few get to see what he does off the field.¬† And you do, David, obviously, being so close to the program.
To watch Tajh and how he interacts with our fan base, with our community, with our university‑‑ I mean, Tajh truly is the face of our university.¬† And to watch the accolades that he's gotten and the records that he's broken on the football field, he's done that much and more off the field.
I think, whether he takes another snap or not, for what he's done for this program and for this university has been instrumental, and he's definitely set the standard.¬† Whoever the next quarterback's going to be at Clemson University, he's got big shoes to fill.
Obviously, he wants to finish strong and go out on top as a winner and winning this last game.¬† That's our goal.¬† That's our plan.¬† But his legacy, he's definitely put a standard at the quarterback position that we expect to be met and raised each year.
It is a big deal.¬† I've said it since the day I got here.¬† It's a big deal to be the quarterback of the Clemson Tigers, and Tajh has taken that, and he's superseded a lot of people's expectations of him.
But he definitely has got goals for himself, and this is one that we want to go out, we want to finish strong, and we come back from‑‑ just referring back to last year, obviously, the performance that he put on in the Bowl game last year was probably one of the best performances of all Bowl seasons by a quarterback and that coming off a loss of our last regular season game.
So much the same this year, the regular season game didn't finish the way we wanted it to, and I know Tajh has been working extremely hard to, again, come back and be ready for this last game.
SAMMY WATKINS:¬† From my point, he's a great guy.¬† He leads on and off the field in different ways.¬† He did help this program out and brought it from the bottom to the top.
I think he's been tremendous throughout my career and his career, and he helped me out personally on the field with just getting acclimated as a freshman and just operating this offense.¬† It's not easy.¬† He deals with a lot of different things.
I think that he handles himself well and took this university and put us on a pedestal and represented us properly.
Q.¬† Along the same lines, just wanted you to address what growth you've seen in Tajh since you first started working with him, where he's become better as a quarterback, where he's become better as a leader.
COACH MORRIS:¬† Well, you know, when we talk about the growth of Tajh as a player, I don't know if we've got enough time in this press conference for me to cover all that.
When I first got there, Tajh struggled catching a shotgun snap.¬† Just a quick story.¬† I don't care if you get mad at me, Tajh, but that's okay if he does.
Really, our first spring there, we're installing our offense, and he really struggled catching the snap, just something that we take for granted, a shotgun snap, to the point where it really alarmed me that I actually contacted our training staff and sent him to the eye doctor because I thought he needed glasses.¬† So he came back, and he had 20/20, and I said, Well, something's wrong here now, Tajh.¬† We've got to figure this out.
To watch him from that standpoint and watch him grow.¬† You know, Tajh started this thing out, and he was trying to memorize the offense.¬† He was trying to memorize every play, and you can't do that.¬† You have to understand that we have answers, and every play's got an answer, and you've got to understand the system and what your answer is.
So that's one thing we take a lot of great pride in.¬† So to watch him evolve into that and to come into the player that he's been has been‑‑ it's definitely been a blessing.¬† I've enjoyed it.¬† Obviously, being the quarterback and the coordinator, we've become very close, and it's‑‑ we know it's going to come to an end at some point in time Friday night, early Saturday morning with his career.¬† I can tell you, I'm one of the biggest Tajh Boyd fans and always will be.
So excited about watching him perform, but watching him grow has been remarkable.
Q.¬† Tajh, what makes Chad Morris worth the money?¬† You've dealt with him now and stuff.¬† What sets him apart, do you think?
TAJH BOYD:¬† Honestly, he's been one of the most influential people in my life.¬† My growth, my development.
You know, he's really straightforward and honest in everything that he does.¬† I'll tell you a story about my first spring, our first spring together.¬† It wasn't the best spring, I would say, and he pretty much came up to me, and he was like, look, man, either you're going to get it done, or I'm going to find somebody that will.
So just somebody who can put their foot down and let you know what you need to work on, not just as a player but as a person as well, you've got to respect it, and you've got to love it.
His enthusiasm, his‑‑ you know, it's kind of‑‑ his encouragement is kind of offset sometimes, but, again, that's what makes him special.¬† That's what makes him one of the best coordinators in the country.¬† Works really hard at his job, makes sure he has the best staff around him, and just puts his heart and soul in everything that he does.
If you can do anything wholeheartedly in life, you're going to be the best at it, and that's what I think he is.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll release the players.
Q.¬† Coach, I was just going to ask you a little bit‑‑ maybe a little bit more about Sammy as far as from last year.¬† Just if you could elaborate a little bit more on Sammy, particularly, as you said, his sophomore year, decent but didn't match the numbers from his freshman year.¬† What did you kind of talk about with him this past off‑season?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think one of the biggest things‑‑ let's all go back to last year.¬† We all know the type of year he had his freshman year, but when you go back to last year, he never got into a rhythm, never got into a groove.
He served a two‑game suspension to start the season, came back, played a game, got sick.¬† Actually was sick going into the Florida State game.¬† Got sick on a Thursday night.¬† And then in turn missed‑‑ played the Florida State game and missed the next two ball games because of his sickness.
Then comes back, and you really never saw him get into it.¬† You'd see flashes, but as far as him getting into a rhythm, you never saw that.¬† Still had over 700 yards receiving, a good year according to a lot of standards for receivers.
But the biggest thing that I saw with him, it wasn't necessarily a lack of focus, it was just his ability to get into a rhythm.¬† But one of the things coming into the spring was‑‑ you know, he was going to have to play more than six snaps in a row before he has to come out.
That was one of the things a year ago that he wasn't‑‑ he wasn't in the shape.¬† He was a little heavy, in my opinion.¬† He wasn't quite as explosive as he was his freshman year.¬† So his endurance wasn't as much as it should have been.¬† A lot has to do with he was sick and, again, just going back to not getting into a rhythm.
After we went through spring ball this year‑‑ and I always have what I call the seven‑minute meeting with our guys at the end of spring.¬† It's where I talk for seven minutes, and they get to listen.¬† It's pretty straightforward, right here it is, here's where you're at, and if you're going to be a part of this thing, this is what you have to do.
And so, obviously, some of your guys, you‑‑ if they have a chance, they want to say something in the end, you let them talk.¬† But Sammy was very straightforward and agreed with everything we talked about.¬† We had to get him back into the elite shape that he was in his freshman year.¬† And one thing he kept coming back and telling me was, Coach, I've got to get back into the elite track shape that I was in going into my freshman year.
So he worked extremely hard at that this summer to see that happen‑‑ make that happen.¬† That's what he's really‑‑ to me, in my opinion, that's where he's really separated himself this year and become one of the top receivers in the country.
Q.¬† Coach, sticking with Sammy, have you had the conversation at all about whether he's going to leave early, go pro, or anything like that?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Coach has on our team plane, on our travel plane that we travel to away games, all the seniors get to sit in first class.¬† So we're excited about watching Sammy sitting in first class next year.¬† I reminded him of that this week as we got on the plane.¬† I said, Just think, next year, when you get on a plane, you'll be able to sit in first class.¬† Like he always does, he grins ear to ear.
He's had a great career, and whatever his decision is, we're going to support him.¬† Coach Swinney, and he's going to support him and meet with him.¬† He's done a lot for this university and this program.¬† We're excited to watch him perform Friday night.
Whatever happens after that, obviously, will be in the best interests of his family and him.¬† So we're going to enjoy him for sure for the next game.
Q.¬† Chad, I think Urban at one point tried to hire you.¬† Can you just recall that moment and how similar is their offense to what you all do?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Well, there's a lot of similarity, a lot of similarity in what we do.¬† You know, I think a lot of Coach Meyer.¬† I think he's an unbelievable coach.¬† Coach Meyer and my relationship go back to his days at Utah.¬† He was recruiting several of our players.¬† Actually went up there and visited him and his staff then and went back and visited him when he first got to Florida.
So we developed a relationship.¬† Obviously, the year he chose to get out, he called about four of our games, and he was able to come in and spend time with us.¬† You know Coach Meyer, he's definitely always looking to try to find something that separates him offensively.¬† He's an offensive mind.¬† So he would come out and watch our practice.¬† After practice was over with, we'd sit and talk for a while.
At the time, we had Dwayne Allen, and I remember Dwayne, and he would always talk about the tight ends he's had in the past.¬† And so it turned into a relationship where we were actually talking about once a week on the phone.¬† Hey, Chad, what do you think about this?¬† This is the way I used to handle a tight end.¬† You got Dwayne Allen there.¬† So we just developed a relationship.
So to be‑‑ when he got back in it, to be considered and to talk to him, it was an honor.¬† But it was pretty‑‑ it was right around our ACC Championship Game, and it was pretty much within the hours that we were talking this whole thing through.¬† But a great honor, a great football coach, and he's done a wonderful job everywhere he's been.
Q.¬† I have a different question, but I do want to follow up on that one.¬† Did you come at all close to taking that offer, or was it actually offered?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Well, I don't know how close it really got.¬† I know‑‑ like I said, everything happened around our ACC Championship Game.¬† It was within‑‑ it was within a short few hours, if you will.
I know that we were‑‑ Coach Swinney‑‑ that Sunday after we won the ACC Championship, Coach Swinney and I and our athletic director at the time, Terry Don Phillips, were in Coach Swinney's office at 8:00 on Sunday morning and negotiating and working out the details, the final details of my contract extension.¬† So it was within‑‑ there was some talk, without just going into all the breakdown of it.¬† We were in there Sunday morning at 8:00.
Q.¬† The real question, it's no secret that Ohio State's pass defense especially struggled down the stretch.¬† When you look at that defense, do you see a fundamentally flawed defense, or do you see some minor things that have to be tweaked from their end?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think, when you watch‑‑ when you watch their defense, obviously, they're very, very sound up front.¬† I think one of the best parts of their defense is their defensive front.¬† They're very physical, strong.
They're playing some young guys in the secondary.¬† They've had some injuries in the secondary.¬† They've lost one of their best players early in the year and had to kind of make a few moves.¬† And they have to make some moves, when they do get into some passing situations, they'll get into their nickel package and try to get an extra DB on the field.
But it was very sound.¬† Obviously, they've gone against some teams over the last few weeks, and maybe they haven't played quite as well.¬† But they've won 24 games doing something right.¬† They're not going to just come out there and let us throw it all over the field on them.¬† That's not going to happen.
Coach Meyer is‑‑ I know they've worked extremely hard over the last month, like we have.¬† I think it's going to be a great matchup.¬† I'm excited about it.
It's just one thing I do know about this business is you can't really relate back to ‑‑ what you see on film is usually what shows up, but at the same sense, there's going to be guys making some adjustments.¬† They're playing on the big stage as well.¬† Like I said, I feel like they're a play or two away‑‑ a fourth down play away from playing for the National Championship right now.¬† So we've got our hands full.
This is going to be a great challenge for us to see where we are and to watch Tajh perform his last ball game.¬† I think it's big for Tajh.
And we're excited about it.¬† We've had some really good preparation.¬† We have a great plan.¬† Hey, we feel like that every week.
Q.¬† Do you know Tom Herman at all from your time in Texas?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I do.¬† I know Tom.¬† That's what I was going to refer back to as we were talking about that.¬† He got a great offensive coordinator.¬† He hired Tom Herman.¬† Tom and I go back‑‑ Tom spent a the lot of time at Texas.¬† He was at Rice, he was at Texas State.¬† So I know Tom, a great mind.
As a matter of fact, the funny thing about all this is their offensive staff came out and visited with us last spring.¬† We spent about three days together.¬† So I'm sure they were dragging their notes out just like we were dragging our notes out.
No, I mean, he's a great coach, very, very smart.¬† He's done some great things there at Ohio State.
Q.¬† So between Urban's time at ESPN and when he was talking with you and the staff coming to visit you, did they know they were going to play you guys in a Bowl and they were just gathering intelligence for two years?
COACH MORRIS:¬† We laughed.¬† Actually, when they left, we went to dinner one night‑‑ in fact, I think I bought Tom's dinner.¬† I think I did.¬† I believe I did.¬† So I'm going to have to ask Tom.
We were laughing, saying that, hey, look, what if we meet up in a bowl game?¬† We just kind of laughed, well, you know, that may not happen.¬† Who knows?¬† It would be neat if it does, and here we are.
So good group of guys.¬† Really good group of guys.¬† Really good football coaches.¬† But, you know, the thing you know about football is this.¬† There's nothing original.¬† Everything's been stolen from somebody.¬† So you just kind of‑‑ they're going to run the power.¬† They're going to run the counter.¬† We're going to run the power.¬† We're going to run the counter, the inside zone, and so are they.¬† At some point, you've got to line up, and you've got to execute and take care of the football.
Q.¬† I know, obviously, you've discussed this kind of stuff with the people that cover Clemson the past couple of years, but as a million dollar coordinator, when we know salaries in college football have gone that way, when head coaches make that kind of money, there's a lot that goes into being the face of the program and dealing with outside things.¬† When you have one side of the ball and the specific thing that you're working on, what do you do or have to do to be worth that, to prove that Clemson or any university paying any coordinator that kind of money is getting their money's worth from a guy on one side of the ball?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think the biggest thing you have to do is you have to be able to change.¬† You've got to be able to take advantage of the players that you have, and you've got to be able to put a product on the field that's going to be one of the best in the country.
We take great pride in being the most explosive offense in the country, and we've been able to do that over the last two years.¬† One of the things we do is each year we reevaluate ourself and we see what we can do better.¬† From there, you build off it.¬† You take the good things you do the previous year and analyze the things you maybe don't do so well and try to figure out why, get rid of it if it's not working, and analyze the players that you have.
Next year our dynamic of our players is going to be a little bit different.¬† Obviously, losing a quarterback of Tajh's caliber, we've got to‑‑ obviously, you're still going to do what you do, but you have to reevaluate some of those things, and is there anything you can do to change, to help give you the cut, put you back on‑‑ you know, ahead of the game.¬† And I've done that ever since I've been in high school coaching.
So there's always something out there that's on the cutting edge, and as a coordinator, it's my job to find it.¬† It's my job to produce, to have these guys produce on the field and watch their development.
Q.¬† Chad, talk about the cutting edge.¬† What do you see that's coming right now?¬† What's been en vogue right now, but what do you see coming offensively?¬† Defense is sort of catching up to the spread right now, but sort of not.
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think what you're seeing now, more and more teams are going to the up tempo, where the fast pace is becoming the norm.¬† Maybe those coaches that have‑‑ those head coaches that have kind of dug their heels in the ground and saying, no, no, no, no, I'm not doing it are kind of having a change of heart, going everybody else is doing it, and I'm getting beat by those teams that are doing it.
Those teams are producing offenses on the field and even defenses that are a top‑‑ still being able to stay in the top of the country.¬† That was a big hang‑up several years ago was, well, if you're going to have a hurry‑up, no huddle offense, your defense is going to suffer.¬† I think what you see now‑‑ I know with our defense, I know there's several other teams out there right now that not only have a top 10, top 15 offense, but they also have a top 25 defense.¬† So it can be done.
So that's becoming more of the norm now.¬† I think one of the biggest things on cutting edge you're seeing now are a lot of the run/pass tags.¬† You're actually seeing these‑‑ I mean, you're having runs tied in with passes and off of second reads and third reads, and I think that's becoming more of a cutting edge now than anything.
Q.¬† Urban Meyer, did he actually make a play for you?¬† Do you remember talking with him when he got the job at Ohio State?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Oh, yeah.
Q.¬† You may have been asked this while I was in the other room, but how close did you come?¬† Just‑‑ just talk about him, dealing with him and just the interest there.
COACH MORRIS:¬† Yeah, we were talking about that.¬† Someone asked that question a little bit earlier, and one of the things we talked about was all that was happening‑‑ Coach Meyer called about four of our games that year, the year he was out.¬† So therefore, when those guys call your games, they're able to go out and spend some time with you and watch practice.
But Coach Meyer and my relationship went back to his days at Utah when he was recruiting several of our players out of Texas, and then on down into Florida when he was recruiting several of our players.¬† I actually went out and visited him in both places.
So we had a relationship, and then when I got to Clemson, he called four of our games, three or four of our games.¬† He came out, and we were able to spend some time together, kind of rekindle the relationship a little bit.¬† We talked ball.¬† He liked what we were doing offensively.¬† So throughout that season, once a week or so, we would keep in touch, texts, calls, and different ways of utilizing some of our tight ends that we had, Dwayne Allen being one of them.
So that's kind of the way the whole thing started, and then as he got back into it, the communications began.¬† All that was right around the ACC Championship week, and we were‑‑ we won the Championship on that Saturday.¬† I think it was December the 3rd.¬† And that Sunday morning around 8:00, Coach Swinney and myself and our athletic director at the time, Terry Don Phillips, were in Coach Swinney's office getting everything worked out contract‑wise.
Without going into a whole lot of details, I hope I answered your question.
Q.¬† Obviously, there's a culture in football‑‑ high school, college, pro‑‑ of talking to guys at other schools and sharing information and having a collaborative thing, but do you give it‑‑ do you tell them everything when guys come to visit?
COACH MORRIS:¬† You can't tell everything, no.
Q.¬† Keep some secrets?
COACH MORRIS:¬† You have to.¬† You have to, but what you do is you try to go with guys that you trust, but 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, spent four days with them.¬† This past year, we were able to visit with‑‑ of course, obviously, I worked with Coach 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, us and Arizona State.¬† Basically, you speak the same language, to be able to go out and talk.
Obviously, my relationship with Coach 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, 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.¬† That's 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, and that's just kind of what we do.
Q.¬† Do you ever put those notepads on eBay?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Unh‑unh.¬† My wife tries to throw them away, but no.
Q.¬† Is there kind of like a nutshell you can give us how you come up with the offensive game plan every week.¬† What's collaborative?¬† What do you do in your office?¬† What do you do at night?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I'll try to sum it up pretty quick for you.¬† Usually Sunday nights we roll in after a Saturday night‑‑ Sunday afternoon we roll in.¬† We'll start watching‑‑ we try to watch a half of the first‑‑ the previous opponent's‑‑ or our 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.¬† 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.¬† Try to work on that on Mondays.¬† Mondays is a day we split up, a lot of our staff splits 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 usually 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 9:00.¬† I usually try to stay up there, me and keep a couple of the GAs up there with me.¬† We try to stay up there until 2:30, 2:00 in the morning, finish up, get everything ready.
Wednesday, you start putting it all together.¬† Thursdays are your final play polish.¬† On Friday it's walk‑through.
But everybody has their own little areas.¬† 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.¬† So 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.
But now that we've been very fortunate being able to work with our staff‑‑ we've been together now for three seasons without any change in our offensive staff, and that's been‑‑ the continuity is huge, huge in this business and being able to have guys that stay with us.
Q.¬† Do you know Luke Fickell?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I've met Luke once, maybe twice.¬† I don't know him like I know Tom, obviously, but I know he's a very good coach.¬† Obviously, watching him in his time in his career, he's definitely put some very impressive products out on the field.
Q.¬† I guess you might have a better chance of knowing Everett Withers reasonably well?
COACH MORRIS:¬† At North Carolina, yeah.¬† I've been able to play against them that first year, which was my first year, his last year there, so, yes, and be able to‑‑ very sound coach.¬† Obviously, they've put some very good defenses on the field also in North Carolina.
Q.¬† Any thoughts on him becoming the head coach at James Madison?
COACH MORRIS:¬† Yeah, what a great opportunity for him.¬† Excited for him.¬† I know he's trying to put his staff together, if he hasn't already got it done yet.¬† He'll do a great job, a very, very, very good ball coach.¬† I know his players really respect him and play hard for him.
Q.¬† Did he call you?
COACH MORRIS:¬† No, no.
Q.¬† Sorry, I got to ask.
COACH MORRIS:¬† No.
Q.¬† Chad, I'm not trying to belabor this point, but I wanted to ask.¬† When I asked Tajh, what makes you worth the money, you know what I mean.¬† Do you ever pinch yourself that you've risen to this point and you're making good money doing, obviously, what you love to do?¬† I mean, just how cool is that to you?
COACH MORRIS:¬† I think one of the biggest things is I'm a high school football coach, and I take great pride in saying that.¬† I think some of our best coaches across the country are high school football coaches because you have to do it all.¬† You have to not only put together a game plan and practice schedules, but you also got to get in front of teachers and faculty and staff and be a part of them.¬† You've got to be a team player.
And so I know, because I was a head coach for 18 years, I know what a great assistant is supposed to be like and what a good assistant is supposed to be like because I've had to hire them. ¬†So when the opportunity came into play to get into college, I knew what an assistant is supposed to do.
So as you look at that, the biggest thing I could see is I enjoy what I do.¬† I love what I do.¬† I get to make a difference in young men's lives and yet still coach the game of football.¬† I'm very blessed.
That was one of the things that almost kept me from not getting into college was I enjoyed my parents, I enjoyed my players, and Coach Graham convinced me on the third time‑‑ I actually turned him down three times at Tulsa.¬† On the third time, he flew Paula and Chandler and Mackenzie and I up to Tulsa and convinced me, Chad, I promise you, you'll have an opportunity to make a bigger difference at the college level because the parents of our players aren't around as much.¬† So you and Paula will be able to be very instrumental.
Again, that's‑‑ I enjoy what I do.¬† I love what I do.¬† I'm very passionate about it and work for a great man in Coach Swinney.¬† I enjoy getting up every day and coming to work.
Q.¬† Can I ask one last thing in that regard?¬† Do you find yourself at the end of every week having more ideas than you can incorporate?¬† How tough is it to trim the package, so to speak?
COACH MORRIS:¬† That's a great question because time is a coach's enemy.¬† A lot of coaches‑‑ and maybe this is just the high school coach in me‑‑ as a coach, if you've got more time, you feel like you've got to add more stuff.¬† The more time you got, the more stuff you think you need to add because you think that's coaching.¬† So you've got to be really careful with that.
I've actually‑‑ earlier in my career, 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.
And then there will be time, as we talked about earlier, there will be 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?¬† 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.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports