ATLANTA – A highly recruited high school quarterback out of Phoebus High School in Virginia, Clemson junior quarterback Tajh Boyd is now well-established as the Tigers’ field general.
But when it came time to make his choice of colleges, his pick of Clemson over Ohio State and Oregon came as something of a surprise – especially since the Tiger program was in the midst of a major transition.
“Coach (Dabo) Swinney had just been named head coach, there was a lot of unanswered questions in the program,” Boyd recalled on Saturday during a Chick-fil-A bowl news conference. “But when I got a chance to sit down with them and talk to them, and hear about his life experiences, how he can help me grow, not just as a player but as a man, I don' think I could have gone anywhere else or a better place.”
Boyd admitted there were more “sexy” choices.
“There's a lot of schools that are easy on the eye,” he said. “You go out to Oregon and Ohio States, those are two of my favorites, and some place that any player or any quarterback wants to play in an exciting offense wants to play in. First couple of years it was a different type of deal but when (offensive coordinator Chad Morris) came in, it was a blessing in disguise.”
GAME PLAN? JUST DO IT
Morris said there’s no special formula for what his spread offense needs to do against LSU on Monday. The plan that has been in place through 12 games will also be in effect tomorrow.
“I think the thing that we have to do is we have to be able to come out and play our game and do what we do,” Morris said. “I think anybody, at this stage of the season, better worry about yourself. I've been saying that all year long is it's more about the Clemson Tigers than it is LSU Tigers, and we have got to make sure that we do what we do.”
CHAVIS IN CHARGE
LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis is a Dillon native who has enjoyed one of the most successful careers as an assistant in college football history.
The winner of the 2011 National Assistant Coach of the Year award, Chavis has worked for both Les Miles and Phil Fulmer, producing defenses that ranked in the top four in the SEC four times while coaching 13 All-Americans and 38 All-SEC selections.
So is there a head coaching gig on the horizon for the 56-year old?
It all depends.
“My stance has always been the same: I want to win,” Chavis said. “Winning is most important to me and I want to win at the highest level. I want to coach kids and be a part of their life and that’s the exciting thing. I can do that as a coordinator and I’ll be honest, I can do it as a linebacker coach.
“If somebody says give up one of your titles today, I’d pick coaching linebackers.”
Still, Chavis said he would be open to a head coaching job if it offered a chance to succeed at a high level.
“If an opportunity came where I could be a head coach, in a program like LSU, at that level, certainly I would consider that option. But I like winning.”
ONE WHO GOT AWAY
Sam Montgomery had a stellar career at Greenwood High, and his exploits in the college game have brought him even more honors.
The LSU defensive end was a freshman All-SEC selection in 2010 and last year he was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year honor.
Heavily recruited by both Clemson and South Carolina in-state, Montgomery is a mainstay of the Bayou Bengals’ defense.
Heading into Monday’s game against Clemson in the Georgia Dome Montgomery has 15 unassisted tackles including 12 totaling 51 yards in losses.
“Sam got hurt, but then he came back from it and came big bigger and stronger and faster,” LSU coach Les Miles said. “Since his injury, in my opinion, he’s had a little chip on his shoulder.
“He’s been a tremendous leader for us. He gives us a very physical yet athletic end that, frankly, you want him on the field when the game is to be decided.”