NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Of course the bad news for Clemson Nation is its football program could soon be without its best offensive mind since Rich Rodriguez, and we all know how that worked out for Tommy Bowden.
There is a real chance Chad Morris could be the next head coach at Texas Tech. And it could happen fast.
Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt told reporters staking out the Anderson Regional Airport yesterday that he wanted to move quickly. And he wasn’t kidding. The Texas Tech Board of Regents will meet Thursday and Friday to discuss the head coaching situation and compensation.
But I’m told Dabo Swinney is working on a contingency plan that is designed to keep the up-tempo, no-huddle offensive philosophy at Clemson for the long term.
Swinney says he didn’t buy into the hurry-up, no-huddle offense because he found Chad Morris. He wanted to install the hurry-up, no-huddle which led him to Morris.
He wants this to be Clemson’s identity.
This is important. Successful programs, successful NFL teams, tend to have an identity. Think the Steelers’ 3-4 defense, the 49ers’ West Coast offense of the 1980s and 1990s. Coaches change, but scheme continuity allows programs to better learn what type of players and coaches it can reload into their teams. Familiarity breeds confidence and success and expertise.
Swinney has promised people close to the team, and players on the team, that Clemson will not be changing its offensive identity.
I have no idea who the top candidates would be to replace Morris. Coachingsearch.com speculated on names yesterday.
I asked someone close to Dabo earlier this year this question: ‘who is the next Chad Morris?’ I was told that person is Jeff Scott. (Scott and Dabo have been able to see this offense for the last two years and they will keep copies of the playbook).
We don’t know who would replace Morris, but I think the silver lining is Swinney has found a successful identity for his program that should survive and be sustainable long after Morris’ time at Clemson.
The constant reports of Morris tied to other jobs can’t be good for team focus, can it?
What if Morris leaves before the bowl game? What does Clemson do then?
Those are the short-term concerns.
Then there are the long term concerns.
Morris and Tajh Boyd have a very good relationship. I’m told Boyd “loves” Morris and if Morris leaves it might cause Boyd to more seriously think about the NFL. (DeAndre Hopkins, too). But I’m also told that Boyd is still likely returning to Clemson and that decision will be more determined by the draft projection he receives from the underclassmen advisory committee than what happens with Morris. Boyd’s a late- to mid-round pick at this point so I still think he stays.
The there’s the long, long-term concerns: recruiting. Prospects like Bud Robinson, Ryan Jenkins, Dylan Sumner-Gardner could think twice about Clemson if Morris leaves.
Morris might leave by the end of the week, even if he does there’s still much to play out.