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Arkansas Head Coach Chad Morris: Offensive Philosphy

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Breaking down Morris’ Strategy

Josh Goforth

Now that Chad Morris has been announced, and all the nonsense is finally over we can spend some time actually looking at on the field football related stuff instead of contracts, buyouts and coach a vs coach b. As everyone knows by now the former Clemson Offensive coordinator and SMU head coach likes to run an uptempo offense in the same vein as what Gus Malzahn has developed at Auburn.

I pulled out an old video from the 2013 AFCA coaches clinic where the then Clemson OC gave a detailed view of his philosophy including everything from tempo, importance of QB play, recruiting, play calling, to game plan development and how he changed to no huddle. So from this we will dive into what exactly Morris will bring along to Fayetteville.

First and foremost Morris starts the Chalk Talk by saying that he is “Just a High School Coach.” This is a familiar phrase that Malzahn likes to say from time to time relating back to the path that both coaches followed to reach the Head Coach level in the SEC. It’s a good line and takes shots back to the days when Houston Nutt referred to Malzahn as “high school” during his time on the hill, as well as downplaying the superiority of the College game over its feeder level.

Morris then goes into further detail describing the attempt to reach out to Malzahn during the Fall of 2003.

Another account in the link below from 2011 gives the same story.

"Just knowing the path that he took to get where he is and the path that has led me to where I am today, I think is unique," Morris said. "It gives every high school coach out there in this country a hope: 'Yes, if you work hard, if I win and produce, this can happen too.'" Clemson OC Chad Morris 2011

Basically after a tough season at Stephenville HS in West Texas, Morris was looking for answers anywhere he could. Knew the game was changing and that his power I scheme was just not enough to get to the top and keep his job. So on his own dime, Morris flew his offensive coaches to Little Rock to watch a playoff game where Springdale and Malzahn were playing. After the game Morris met Malzahn and introduced himself, and as he says the coach was pretty apprehensive to talk much about his offense. They left Little Rock with a shaky meeting set for sometime in early January of the next year.

So from there Morris and his staff flew back to Texas with little to nothing, but he decided on another whim to fly back the following week and talk to Malzahn again which showed that he was serious about learning the hurry up no huddle system. Malzahn shared some of his ideas and Morris skyrocketed through the Texas coaching ranks on to follow Malzahn at Tulsa under Todd Graham.

Notes from AFCA Intro:

“Have to be willing to look ahead and see whats out there. Always a better mousetrap, find something new out there that we can do better.”

“CEOs aren’t running fortune 500 companies like they were 5-10 years ago and coaches aren’t coaching ball the way they were, the game has changed.”

This is where He really lays out exactly what his philosphy on offense is and what they are trying to accomplish.

Notes from Offensive Philosophy section: It all starts with the QB: First thing he looks at is their parents, gotta talk to their parents. Then, what kind of HS program was the QB in, whats being said about them, (talks about Deshaun Watson who just enrolled, and all positive things about the kid).

Offensive Identity:

  • 2 Back Run oriented play action shot football team
  • Take a minimum of 3 shots down the field per quarter (at least 12 a game) 2 reverses per half (4 a game)
  • Doesn’t always work out that way.
  • Firmly believe in running the QB, an extra gap hidden in your pocket by using the QB. Mix up misdirection with speed motion and window dressing.
  • Get one on ones with the ball in the air.

From there Morris fields some questions from the Coaches in attendance on RPO’s, QB reads, inside the 10 play calling, game plan development, sideline or box play calling.

I will delve further into these aspects of his coaching philosophy in part 2.