Monday, November 7, 2011

Clemson OC Morris on ball security

Turnovers had never been a problem for Clemson in winning their first eight games. In fact, they committed about half as many turnovers as their opponents in that span. So there was a clear link between turnovers and a loss when the Tigers gave the ball away four times in a 31-17 fall to Georgia Tech.

A week removed from that loss, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris was still frustrated with those turnovers. He wrote off the last of them -- a desperation pass by Tajh Boyd late. But the miscommunication on a pass route by Sammy Watkins and fumbles by young tailbacks D.J. Howard and Mike Bellamy became huge points of emphasis during Clemson's bye week.

"Two young running backs just (each) put a ball in jeopardy,'' Morris said Monday, while preparing for Saturday's home game against Wake Forest. "We often talk about the space between the ball and the body (when a back is being tackled). You do that and the chances are extremely high the ball will pop out.''

Howard and Bellamy were pushed into action by Andre Ellington's left ankle injury. Morris assured that Ellington is "ready to go. I don't anticipate that being a problem at all'' against Wake Forest.

However that doesn't take the pressure off Howard and Bellamy to start securing the ball.

"It's about discipline. At the point of contact, the ball has got to be close to your bodies,'' Morris said.

Fumbling the ball "will either put you on the bench, wondering why you're not playing, or not. It's a trust factor...understanding how important it is to secure the football.''

-- Rick Bonnell