Texas Tech is apparently down to two, maybe three candidates. So today, we're going to get a bit more into Chad Morris and Kliff Kingsbury.
Morris really learned his offense from Guz Mahlzan and Southern Pigskin details how that relationship came about:
Morris’ first contact with Malzahn came when he replaced Art Briles as high school coach in Stephenville, Texas, and his offense needed some answers after a tough season. It took two flights to Springdale, Arkansas to convince Malzahn he wasn’t a rival coach trying to get an edge on Gus’ system that was tearing up the state of Arkansas. The friendship grew from there over the years as Morris regularly sent his staff to work with Malzahn’s to learn the nuances to his unique version of the spread. Next year, Morris will get to face Malzahn for the first time in Death Valley when the defending champs play Clemson.
And Morris talked about what his offense does and what they are all about:
Morris said, "The one thing (to hang your hat on) – we’re going to have an identity - we’re going to be extremely physical and extremely aggressive."
He didn’t stop there.
"We are a power, physical football team offensively," Morris said. "That is what we are going to hang our hat on. We are going to run the football."
I don't know what your perception of Morris is, but I like this sort of thinking from Morris and it appears that he's really taken the page out of what a lot of spread coaches do, which is to do one thing really well:
"We may only run three offensive run plays during spring ball, and if that’s all we get in, that’s okay, but we’re going to get really good at something," Morris said. "We’re going to hang our hat - when it’s 3rd and 3, we’re good at this. You don’t trick people – you line up and you play your style of football, and you get good at what you do. And at some point, if this is as good as you are, you’ve got as good as you can. These things - your identity – that’s all you can ask from your kids, and they’ll believe in you – they’ll trust you."
It was also really interesting to see an old Tiger.net article where they talked to UTEP defensive coordinator Andre Patterson:
"There is an SEC team playing in the National Championship next week that runs the exact same offense," Patterson said of Auburn. "Gus Malzahn [Auburn’s offensive coordinator) runs the same offense. I am not sure if Clemson has another Cam Newton, but it is proven that it can be successful if you have the horses to run it.
"You have to have a quarterback that can run and make plays with his legs, yet be a dual threat with his arm. This style helps the offensive line and it makes it hard on the defensive line. You don’t have to have a bunch of humongous road graders to move the line off of the football. You can be successful, but you have to have the players."
So Morris utilizes a mobile quarterback system, which is incredibly important with Michael Brewer on the way up. I'd also add that Clayton Nicholas and Davis Webb are not slouches for athletes. I don't know that I'd call them dual threats, but they're both very good athletes that can do different things offensively. Maybe more so Webb than Nicholas, but they're both pretty good.
Last but not least, Shakin' The Southland is football pron (misspelling intentional) and when Morris was hired at Clemson they dug in and this is perhaps the most important thing.
It is designed to defeat defenses with tempo on top of the horizontal and vertical stretch, but it doesn't try to outscheme the defense per se. There is essentially no difference between this offense and what Gus Malzahn runs at Auburn, so everything discussed previously here still applies.
I'd also add that it is nice to see that Morris is his own coach in that he's diverged a bit from what Mahlzan did:
Also in my opinion, after watching Tulsa film, the real difference between the Morris and Malzahn system is in the Jet/Fly series. For those of you familiar with the Wing-T offense, you'll find tremendous similarity between what Clemson will run with and the old Delaware Wing-T. The only difference is that we'll be using a WR in motion instead of the Wingback and an H-back blocking. The inside zone replaces the belly play. The resemblance is amazing. Tulsa ran quite a bit more plays with the WR getting the ball on jet/fly sweeps and zones than did Auburn. Tulsa had a particularly quick little guy at one of the slot positions that Auburn essentially has with Onterrio McCalleb, but they use them a bit differently. However, I imagine that if Auburn had another guy like Tulsa did at WR, then the two offenses would appear identical.
When Morris was hired as the Clemson offensive coordinator he spoke at length about what he does and you get a sense of the type of person he is. Take a look.