CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd didn’t even play the whole first half – and when he did play, it was admittedly not all too sharp versus S.C. State.
And that kind of embodied the whole first-team Clemson offense last Saturday, which wasn’t exactly a confidence-booster going into next week’s ACC opener at N.C. State.
Offense expectations higher than results
“It seemed like it was from translating down or whatever it was – it just wasn’t exciting as Georgia was,” Boyd said. “We came out kind of flat in general and didn’t do what we were capable of doing.
“When I was out there, I was trying to hit the deep ball instead of taking my checkdowns and tried to create some things. I just have to play the game and take what’s there.”
Boyd completed 14-of-23 attempts for 169 yards and didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 17 games.
Junior receiver Sammy Watkins, who was targeted five times, posted his second-worst yards per catch average – 5.7 – in his 24 career games with a reception.
“Nobody on our team is good enough to not focus in on football and perform on a consistent basis,” Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris said. “We don’t have that. They don’t have that on Sundays either. Those guys have to think about football and perform on a daily basis and to me that’s what was as disappointing as anything.
“Our older guys didn’t perform at the level they should have performed – period. I thought they stunk in some cases.”
Part of the struggles were due to a pre-planned rotation, which all totaled, included 83 players getting in on the action on both sides of the ball.
“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” said Morris. “It was good to get them some rest and some reps early, but I didn’t think we got any flow. I didn’t think the first group had any continuity. So that’d be a concern going into next Thursday night.
“We’ve got to do a good job of straining them pretty hard and coaching them extremely hard which we will. They’ll be ready to go.”
This week of “straining” has Boyd confident they’ll be sharp come 7:30 p.m. next Thursday in Raliegh, N.C.
“It depends on the way we’re practicing,” he said. “We will have live reps against our defense and if we go out there and execute our gameplan against those guys – in the game, we’ll be ready.
“If we go out there and slack around, I don’t think we’ll perform where we need to be.”