CLEMSON — Clemsons Chad Morris isnt used to watching his high-flying offense grounded like it was last week against Virginia Tech. The second-year offensive coordinator said Monday hell make sure it wont happen again.
The 14th-ranked Tigers (6-1, 3-1 ACC) were held to 295 yards against Virginia Tech. Tajh Boyd was the ACC leader in passing yards per game but managed 160 yards well below his average coming in of 291. The offensive line gave up five sacks in a 38-17 win against the Hokies after allowing 10 its first six games.
Everyone, Morris said, shares the blame.
It was my fault as much as anybody elses, he said.
Morris was encouraged Sunday when the offense came to practice focused and motivated to fix the mistakes before facing Wake Forest (4-3, 2-3) on Thursday night.
Im glad its a short week. Tajh is glad its a short week. Hes shared that with me several times, Morris said.
Boyd rushed for a pair of touchdowns and connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 37-yard scoring pass. But Virginia Tech set the tone, Morris said, with two sacks of Boyd on Clemsons first series and the junior quarterback struggled to step up in the pocket most of the rest of the way.
Morris said the Hokies, who had lost twice to Clemson in 2011 including the ACC championship game, were highly motivated to short-circuit an offense that was averaging 525 yards coming into last week. But thats no excuse for the Tigers not to execute the way they had the first half of the season.
Thats totally unacceptable from our guys, he said. Whether it was the open week and we had a lot of rust on us, our timing was off. All thats excuses. Thats just bull-corn, in my opinion. We werent on it.
Boyd had no problems at practice after falling hard to the turf on his shoulder late in last weeks game. Youd have to cut his legs off to keep him out the game, Morris said.
It was Boyds legs, along with Clemsons defense, that bailed the Tigers out of this one.
The defense made three interceptions, including two by safety Jonathan Meeks, and twice stopped Virginia Tech on fourth down for its most complete effort of the season. Meeks first interception led to Boyds 1-yard TD run that put Clemson ahead for good. Meeks took his second interception 74 yards for a touchdown.
Wake Forest had a strong defensive showing, holding Virginia to 48 yards rushing in a 16-10 victory last Saturday. Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe said his team is getting healthier. We havent been full strength previous to this, he said. This is what we hoped we would be able to do defensively at the beginning of the season.
Clemson defensive back Xavier Brewer, who had Clemsons final interception last week, said it was nice to leave the stadium knowing the defense did its job. And hes not that worried about the offense, either.
Its crazy how they played a bad game and put up 31 points, Brewer said sarcastically. Were thankful to have an offense that good.
Morris said theres little depth on the offensive line so the starters have to work much harder to improve since theyre not being pushed by backups. That showed against Virginia Tech, he said.
We didnt knock anybody off the ball, Morris said. Holy cow.
Morris offense set school records for points and yards gained in Clemsons ACC-title winning season last year. Hes confident the teams quick-strike, big-play capabilities will return against the Demon Deacons.
We havent had many days like that since weve been here, Morris said. Hey, great learning experience. Great opportunity for us to bounce back.