'Perfectionist' Tajh Boyd channeling emotions, improving as leader

Clemson's Chad Morris stands near Clemson's Tajh Boyd during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Chad Morris stands near Clemson's Tajh Boyd during the first day of spring practice in Clemson.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says his senior quarterback is a perfectionist, and that’s not always been a good thing.

“He didn’t used to really handle criticism very well,” Swinney said, describing Tajh Boyd’s development as a player. “He didn’t handle bad plays very well. I think these are areas where he’s grown tremendously.”

Case-in-point, the Hampton, Va. native was intercepted in practice Monday, taking a chance he knew he shouldn’t have, but Swinney said Boyd was “just on to the next play.”

The Tigers signal-caller says it’s a part of the delicate balance in leadership, and performing.

“It’s all about if I know I’m having a bad play – knowing that my body language carries weight,” Boyd said. “It’s all about, in a sense, having emotion, but being emotionless at the same time.”

Offensive coordinator Chad Morris has challenged him to be the “complete general” on the field, he says, and what comes with that is more control of the offense.

Boyd: No days off in practice

None

“I’m trying to get to point where if I don’t like the way a play is looking, I’ll be able to reload,” said Boyd. “I need to see the way it works. They’re giving me that freedom.

“Those guys have trusted me and given me the keys to the car. I’m just trying to drive it the best way possible.”

The records eclipsed then re-eclipsed in two seasons as a starter brought him right to the brink of a decision to go pro in January.

Even now knowing Boyd's back for one last year, the Tigers’ fifth-year head coach isn’t ready let go.

“He knows that this is it,” said Swinney, on one of his first signees with the job in 2009. “…There is no other year for him at Clemson. He has to leave. It’s against the rules for him to stay.

“He has to leave unfortunately,” Swinney repeated. “I’d like to have him hang around for a few more years.“

The anticipation for 2013 was on right after Boyd’s press conference to announce his return as a senior – Swinney sending his quarterback a text message with a challenge.

“I said, ‘Rodney Williams was the all-time winningest quarterback here. Won 32 games – you’ve won 21. Welcome back, let’s go to work.’”

Boyd’s response then? “Let’s get it.” And Monday, when asked if the 12 wins needed for the mark were “in the bag?”

“Most likely,” he said smiling, but confident. “Most likely.”

The answers would be anything but surprising to Swinney.

“I think that’s the way Tajh is,” he said. “He’s not satisfied. I haven’t seen one bit of satisfaction in him. He’s mad we lost two games last year, so am I. He doesn’t want to throw interceptions. He doesn’t want to take sacks.

“He’s just working to get better. He’s grown a lot there’s no question since he got there. There’s still a lot more out there for him – not only here but when he leaves here.

“He’s got a great future.”

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Comments » 1

benjaminsower#285983 writes:

"Case and point" ?! Further sad commentary on the degeneration of language and writing skills."Case in point" is the proper way to express the intended idiom.

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