Dabo on chasing perfection
CLEMSON — Dabo Swinney said Sunday’s post-game trainer’s room session was his shortest of the year.
This is very good news for Clemson’s offense – and Tajh Boyd.
Despite taking a scary shot to the left hip that ended his day early against Boston College and sent him to the locker room in a motorized cart, the Tigers’ star sophomore quarterback is, in Swinney’s words, “definitely probable” for Saturday’s 7 p.m. trip to Maryland (2-3, X-X).
In fact, Swinney said, Boyd had more soreness in his right thigh than his strained left hip.
“He’s doing very well today,” Swinney said. “We’re very fortunate and thankful. It looks like he’s going to be fine. Listening to the trainers this morning, I’d say he’d be full speed and ready to go practice. We might limit him Monday but we’ll cut him loose Tuesday.”
With Boyd on board, Clemson’s offense gets a major boost heading to Maryland. He is the ACC’s leader in total offense and passing yardage, and is among the nation’s top 20 in pass efficiency.
Before taking a helmet to the hip, he had 283 yards and two total touchdowns on 16-of-26 passing, and Swinney said he was on his way to one of his best games.
At first, those watching thought Boyd had injured his knee, but the real culprit might have been his fashion choice. Swinney said he was upset because Boyd wasn’t wearing a hip pad.
“I was kind of mad at him,” Swinney said. “With the way he fell, with how his knee was bent, because the knee was bent that might have helped him. But he didn’t have the hip pad on, and the guy had the helmet and drove the helmet down, as he should have. That might still have hurt but it might have protected him a little better.”
Swinney said Boyd didn’t have swelling in the hip, and the pain was “very minimal.”
True freshman Cole Stoudt got his most significant action of his short career, completing six of 10 passes for 37 yards and leading a pair of scoring drives that sealed the win.
“He stepped in and made good decisions,” he said. “A couple plays he looked like a true freshman, but we’re confident in Cole.”
Overall, Swinney said, it was “probably as close as we’ve played to our potential all year; I was really pleased with the things we did in all three phases (of the game).”
The defense held Boston College to 14 points and 258 total yards, and kicker Chandler Catanzaro booted five field goals, including a 47-yarder that bounced over the crossbar and through.
The Tigers are now 24th nationally in scoring defense, continuing their steady progress. Among others, Swinney praised junior defensive end Malliciah Goodman, who had three tackles for loss and a sack, and linebacker Tig Willard, who had a team-leading nine tackles.
“The last three weeks we’ve made some steps forward, and the big challenge this week is that we’ve got to continue to get better on the defensive side,” Swinney said. “we have a lot of guys playing together, but there are still things we have to improve on. I’m very, very encouraged with what I’ve seen the last three weeks against Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
“We’re playing with relentless effort, pursuit and discipline and we have to do be the defense we can by the time all is said and done. We started off a little slow and we’ve gotten better each week. Hopefully when all is said and done we can be one of the best defenses in the country.”
Swinney said freshman linebacker Stephone Anthony, who missed the game with a sprained ankle suffered Thursday, “should be back and hopefully rolling full speed.”