As the Florida Gators begin searching for their next football coach, SEC Country will take a closer look at the top candidates for the job.
Chad Morris is yet another one of the up-and-comers in the college football coaching world. A renowned high school football coach in Texas during his early coaching tenure, the 48-year-old is beginning to make a name for himself at Southern Methodist University and could be on the verge of making the jump to a Power 5 program.
Here’s what you need to know about Morris:
Chad Morris’ coaching resume
After 16 years as a high school coach at various schools in Texas, Morris spent five years as an offensive coordinator at Tulsa (2010) and Clemson (2011-2014) before taking over the SMU program in 2015. After a rough start in his first two seasons — 2-10 in 2015 and 5-7 in 2016 — Morris has the Mustangs at 6-3 this season.
Morris is 1-8 as a head coach against Top 25 teams and is just 7-14 in American Athletic Conference play. His lone ranked win was a 38-16 win over then-No. 11 Houston in 2016. In the other eight, Morris’ team has been outscored 429-216. Six of the losses have come by at least 20 points.
In just three years, Morris turned an SMU offense that ranked second to last in the country in yardage and last in scoring into a well-oiled machine that ranks 10th and 12th respectively in those categories this season.
Sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks has made a considerable jump from his freshman season, throwing for 2,588 yards with 20 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions in nine games. Morris also utilizes a running back-by-committee approach at SMU, with three running backs having more than 400 yards to this point in the season.
During his tenure as offensive coordinator at Clemson, Morris spent time grooming both Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson. Morris had three seasons with Boyd, who threw for more than 3,800 yards and 30 touchdowns in each of those seasons. Watson was a freshman in Morris’ final year at Clemson and started five games despite dealing with a myriad of injuries.
The Texas tie
With Morris’ deep connection to the state of Texas — he was born in Edgewood, graduated from Texas A&M and spent all but five years of his coaching career there — it would seem more likely that he would wait for one of the marquee jobs in the Lone Star State to open up. And that might not be long of a wait, given the murmurs about Kevin Sumlin’s job security at Texas A&M.
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- UCF’s Scott Frost
- Oregon’s Willie Taggart
- Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen
- Iowa State’s Matt Campbell
- Memphis’ Mike Norvell
- Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente
The post Florida coaching search: What you need to know about Chad Morris appeared first on SEC Country.
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