Tweaks, not makeovers, in 2013 … and why Cole Stoudt should be the backup (but Chad Kelly can have a role)

CLEMSON – Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is not going to give away his secret sauce. He probably exposed too many ingredients last year when openly talking about why he went to Nevada and Oklahoma State — though I think most of us could connect the dots to why Nevada was of interest (the Pistol).

Morris and his staff visited Arizona State earlier this offseason, they have already entertained Ohio State, and Morris hopes to bring in the Texas A & M staff for a visit.

Morris is always looking for a better mousetrap. But unlike last year when Morris unveiled an extreme makeover in going with the pistol as a base formation against Auburn and deploying through much of the regular season, Morris told me not to expect any such significant changes in scheme this season.

“There will be some (elements) that people hadn’t seen and won’t see until it’s time,” Morris said. “But they will not be as significant as the (pistol addition).”

Clemson will show us wrinkles, but not wholesale changes in 2013.

And it’s silly to suggest Clemson requires any sort of overhaul after a record-setting offensive season. But Morris is smart to keep wanting to change, because he knows this offseason his opponents are studying Clemson, and meeting with staffs to better learn how to slow Clemson. For Morris it’s evolve or die.


Many wanted to anoint Chad Kelly as the future QB at Clemson before he took a snap – or at least until Deshaun Watson arrives.

Kelly has the bloodlines – his uncle was an NFL Hall of Fame QB.

Kelly has rare speed for a QB and is a better athlete than Cole Stoudt.

Kelly has good size and is confident.

Moreover, Kelly was hand-picked by Chad Morris.

That said, I think Stoudt should be the backup quarterback in 2013.

Why? Stoudt has one thing Kelly doesn’t have, which Morris articulated in a Bushian sort of way Tuesday night. Morris said Stoudt has “veteranism.”

This is Stoudt’s third year in the Morris offense, he has as had as much time with the Morris playbook as Tajh Boyd. If you’re going for it all in 2013, like Clemson is, I think you want as an experienced backup as you can find.

Secondly, Stoudt is also throwing the ball much better than he did a year ago. Stoudt credits his father Cliff, also a former NFL QB, with relaxing him when he’s in a throwing position this offseason.

I think the Clemson staff has to like that Stoudt has risen to the challenge this camp in competing with Kelly.

Stoudt is relaxed, confident and can make most of the throws. Sounds like a good relief pitcher to me.

Now, I think it could be interesting to design some special packages to utilize Kelly’s speed, and Kelly is the better long-term bet than Stoudt. But in the short term I like Stoudt to win the backup QB battle.

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