Those with blinders who question Clemson’s potential in the passing game must be receptive to the possibility of a more versatile offense with Chad Morris drawing the plays.
Keep in mind the transition from 2010 to 2011 when Clemson went from 334.6 yards of offense per game to 440.8 in Morris’ first season as offensive coordinator.
With Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant in the NFL, there are plenty of potential targets for quarterback Cole Stoudt, though not all designated receivers. Tight ends and running backs could become more critical to advancing the ball through the air.
Morris is encouraged by the depth at receiver, with four freshmen who could play immediately. The competition at tight end is intriguing, and a running back or two could enter the mix.
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Tight ends Jordan Leggett and Stanton Seckinger, and running back Zac Brooks, are among Stoudt’s favorite targets. Leggett and Seckinger are among the most sure-handed on the team, and at 6-foot-4, 251 pounds and 6-5, 245 respectively, Stoudt’s biggest targets. Both are durable and athletic, capable of stretching the field and extending a play.
Leggett hinted there might be more opportunities to showcase his skill.
“They want to have a guy that can actually run routes, then if they have to they can bring him into the backfield as a blocker and things like that,” Leggett said. “When you get good at that, we’re going to be a brilliant offense.”
Asked about potential pass targets, Morris does not neglect the tight ends. In addition to Leggett and Seckinger are senior Sam Cooper and Jay Jay McCullough. Seckinger left the practice field early Monday after twisting an ankle.
“I think you can count on Jordan Leggetts, Sam Coopers and Stanton Seckingers,” Morris said. “Everybody can catch. Can you make the right catch? Can you block? Can you play physical like we’re asking you to do? That’s what is going to separate guys.”
Versatility will be critical in the opener against Georgia’s defense. A combustible, complementary run game along with Stoudt’s arm should be huge assets as Clemson’s offense evolves.
“It’s another game, another opponent. You’ve just got to prepared to play your best,” Stoudt said. “I’m going to prepare to help this team the best I can, and we’re going go in there and have some fun and relax and let loose.”
Notes: Freshman receiver Artavis Scott returned after missing Saturday with a slight knee sprain. …
Walk-on redshirt freshman receiver Seth Ryan, son of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, sustained a broken collarbone while making a diving catch in the end zone. …
Vic Beasley was ranked as the No. 9 player in the nation in a weekend poll by ESPN.com.