Morris details coaching philosophies at media coaching clinic

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Arkansas coach Chad Morris talks to reporters during a media coaching clinic at Fred W. Smith Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas coach Chad Morris talks to reporters during a media coaching clinic at Fred W. Smith Center in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas football coach Chad Morris provided greater insight to the world he, his staff and players live in on a daily basis on Wednesday.

Over the course of more than an hour inside the Fred W. Smith Center, Morris went into fine detail breaking down his scheme and coaching philosophies before members of the media.

Morris’ PowerPoint presentation covered terminology concerning the offensive and defensive lines, defensive coverages such as Cover 0, Cover 2, Cover 4 and Cover 42, personnel packages and lingo, field spacing and more.

“You get a little bit better idea of what we go through and what these young men go through. It’s a chore to be a student-athlete,” Morris said before closing. “There’s a lot of responsibilities that you have outside of this building, and when you come in here, we demand their absolute best.”

Morris said portions of the slideshow will be a typical Sunday night meeting with previous game footage included. He will also present similar screenings on Saturday mornings prior to the team taking the field.

Asked if his fascination with scheme stemmed from facing a talent deficit, Morris singled out one point in his response: What can we do and do at a fast pace that would give our guys an advantage?

“As far as talent-wise, I’ve had incredible talent running this and I’ve had not-so-much incredible talent running it and we’ve had success at both levels,” he said. “Great players make you great coaches, too. This limits things defenses can do to you. It’s all on the alignments.

"There’s always a weakness somewhere. It’s just whether or not they hide their pressures good enough to where it’s too late to get to your answer. That’s the question that we’ll find out with a lot of our quarterbacks."

Morris has been known as a proponent of up-tempo offenses dating to his high school coaching days when he won three state championships in his 16 years as a head coach in Texas, his first at Bay City in 2000, then back-to-back titles at Lake Travis in 2008-09 before taking a college assistant job at Tulsa.

He supplied a thorough thought process into continually attacking defenses following big plays, and his ideology regarding tempo and officiating as well, even jokingly adding his consideration for the condition the of down marker operator's shoes.

“We could run the same play five times. If it’s working, that’s common courtesy to keep running it,” he said, drawing some laughs. “And changing (tempo), too. Tempo is about how fast I can go, but also, can I stop and get them on their heels then we can stop and check the sidelines, stop, check the sidelines again?

“The next play, we may huddle. We may huddle, but when we break out, we break out in a fire alarm. It’s at a fast pace."

In speaking about officials, Morris and his staff gauge the crew’s movements on film similarly to opponents. Morris will find previous games and take notes throughout the course of game week as part of his preparation.

“The officials come in and we’ll meet and we’ll talk about, ‘Hey, this is what we look for. How quick do you spot the ball?’” Morris said. “I’m communicating with the down box, because they usually don’t set (the football) until that down box gets set. Once that gets set, everything can work after a first down, so you kind of make sure to eye the guy working the down box.

“Does he look like he can run? Are his shoes tied up good?”

Toward the end, Morris recalled one of his first phone conversations with defensive coordinator John Chavis in which the two discussed being a complement to one another.

Morris said the offensive and defensive staffs will watch spring clips together and bounce around ideas and tips on how to fine-tune certain details. In some instances, Morris or offensive coordinator Joe Craddock may pass on a defensive tip to Chavis, and vice versa.

“We’ll say, ‘Hey, Coach Chavis, you brought pressure right there, but man, if you would bring it from there like this and disguise this look ... that free safety gave it away, which allowed our quarterback to make that check and push the front to the right,'” Morris said. “'But if he would have kept his hat down or his stance squared a little bit more, Coach, he would have never seen it.'

“I said to him that night when I called him, ‘I can help you. I can help you as much as you can help me as far as communicating. And if you can defend us offensively, then you can defend a lot of teams because of how fast we play and what we do.”


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