I have learned that Clemson offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Chad Morris is a strong candidate to replace O'Brien. Morris is currently the highest paid assistant in college football, earning $1.3 million annually at Clemson.
Morris got a big raise last year after Ohio State showed interest in him as offensive coordinator. His attack, led by quarterback Tajh Boyd and receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, currently ranks No. 8 in the country in total yardage. His brisk spread offense would be a dramatic departure from the conservative O'Brien, to be sure.
His career highlights, via Clemson:
- A big reason Clemson won the 2011 ACC title for the first time in 20 years. Clemson also won 10 games for the first time in 21 years and defeated a record four top-25 teams.
- National Offensive Coordinator-of-the-Year according to Rivals.com in 2011.
- Led the 2011 Clemson offense to many school records, including total yards per game (440.8) and points (470).
- Molded Tajh Boyd into a First-Team All-ACC pick who set Tiger records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in 2011. Clemson also had a 1,000-yard rusher (Andre Ellington) and 1,000-yard receiver (Sammy Watkins).
- Served as offensive coordinator and associate head coach at Tulsa in 2010 and guided that offense to among the best in the nation. That offense was a big reason Tulsa improved from 5-7 in 2009 to 10-3 in 2010. The Golden Hurricane won its last seven games.
- Was 13th in the nation in passing offense (288.7) and 15th in rushing offense (216.9) in 2010. Its 505.6 total offense yards per game were fifth-most in the nation. Tulsa was the only school in the top 15 in the nation in rushing and passing offense.
- Tulsa averaged 41.4 points per game, eighth-most in the nation, and scored at least 28 points in 12 of its 13 games. Tulsa was fifth nationally in first downs (25.6) and tied for fifth in touchdowns scored from the red zone (46). His offense scored 64 touchdowns on scrimmage plays (32 rushing, 32 passing). The team totaled 1,006 plays (537 rushes, 469 passes) in 2010.
- G.J. Kinne was fourth in the nation in total offense (323.9) in 2010 and Damaris Johnson was first in all-purpose yards (202.2).
- Won 82 percent of his games as a high school coach in Texas. He led Lake Travis High School to back-to-back, undefeated (16-0) state championship seasons. He won three state titles overall and played in six state championship games in his high school coaching career. He also won a state title at Bay City High in 2000.
- In 16 years as a head coach at the high school level, he had a 169-38 record (.816). He earned coach-of-the-year honors in 11 of those 16 years.
- His 2008 team was ranked #2 in the nation by USA Today and #8 by Rivals.com, while his 2009 team was ranked #2 by Rivals.com and #9 by USA Today.
- Coached Jevan Snead (Mississippi), Kody Spano (Nebraska), Andrew Smith (North Texas), and Scott Elliott (Tulane) during his high school coaching career.
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