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What Dabo Swinney said about Arkansas firing former Clemson assistant Chad Morris

Arkansas fired head coach Chad Morris on Sunday, a day after his Razorbacks suffered a 45-19 loss to Western Kentucky to fall to 2-8 on the season.

Morris finished his time at Arkansas with a 4-18 record, including an 0-14 mark in SEC play.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney hired Morris as the offensive coordinator for the Tigers in 2011 and was disappointed to get the news that Morris had been let go on Sunday.

“It’s just a tough business, man,” Swinney said during his Sunday teleconference. “There’s going to be a lot of people in this business get fired if you only get a year-and-a-half to build a program, but I guess that’s the direction that we’re heading. I think Chad is a great coach. I think he’s a winner. And I think if he had support and was just able to not have to come to work every day worrying about a job a year-and-a-half into a job, that would resonate and you’d look up five or six years from now and be really proud of what you had.”

Swinney texted with Morris earlier Sunday and was planning to talk with him on the phone later Sunday night.

Morris served as the offensive coordinator at Clemson from 2011-14, before taking over as the head coach at SMU in 2015.

The Mustangs went 1-11 the year before Morris was hired, before going 2-10, 5-7 and 7-5 under Morris. Arkansas hired Morris following the 2017 season, but he managed only four wins in 22 games before being dismissed.

“Everybody wants to win yesterday. But it’s just not that easy… He didn’t take over a great situation. He took over a very challenging situation,” Swinney said. “I think if they’d have just left him alone, just continued to support him, it would take the pressure off as far as every week hot seat stuff and all that. I think he would’ve built a really good program there.”

Arkansas went 4-8 under Bret Bielema the year before Morris was hired. The Razorbacks went 1-7 in the league that year.

Swinney expects Morris to bounce back and be employed again somewhere soon.

“It’s hard to take over a program that’s not won and all of a sudden turn it around in a year and a half, especially in a tough league. And the SEC obviously is a great league and a tough league,” Swinney said.

“But he’ll move forward. There will be opportunities for him. He’s a great coach... He’ll learn and grow from it and land on his feet for sure, whether it be a head job somewhere else or being a coordinator again.”

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Matt Connolly is the Clemson beat writer and covers recruiting and college sports for The State newspaper and The State.com
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