Morris convinced Tajh Boyd is back on track

Clemson's Tajh Boyd throws a 30-yard touchdown pass to receiver Martavis Bryant during the third quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Tajh Boyd throws a 30-yard touchdown pass to receiver Martavis Bryant during the third quarter at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

CLEMSON – There’s usually at least one play – or misplay – that you can focus on as the turning point of a game.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is convinced there was a play at N.C. State last week that he’ll be able to look back to as the turning point for the season.

Holding a 13-7 lead in the third quarter, senior Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd was having a rather forgettable performance.

He had 12 incompletions in Clemson first’s eight drives, averaging a paltry 5.2 yards a pass attempt and missing on throws both short and deep.

Morris wants to Boyd to have fun, relax

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“Talking to him, there wasn’t any concern or being upset with him,” Morris said. “It was, ‘Tell me what you need me to do. Is there anything, Tajh, I can go to so we can settle things in?’ He said, ‘Coach, I’ve got it.’ After watching film, he said it was just one of those nights.”

The third-year starter’s opening throw of drive No. 9 wasn’t any more promising, bringing the average even lower on a 12-yard loss.

The next call, which Morris vividly remembered as the Tigers’ 59th offensive snap Monday, was the game-changer he was looking for all night.

“We threw a deep out to our sidelines to Martavis (Bryant),” Morris said of the 20-yard connection. “The way he dropped, the way he set his feet – and it was as if he wasn’t thinking and he was just playing.

“He put it on the money and then from that point we go to back-to-back scoring drives.”

Boyd hit Bryant again for touchdowns on both possessions, from 30 and 15 yards out respectively. From the first Bryant connection to game’s end, he completed passes at 15 yards per attempt.

“I think we’ll look back at this and circle play 59, say, ‘He got it going that day,’” Morris said.

What was holding Boyd back?

“He is just putting so much on himself that the little things are slipping,” said the Tigers’ third-year offensive coordinator. “He’s a great competitor and he wants to be perfect. He wants to do it all.

“At some point, you have to relax and go play and have fun. He feels like he’s got so much on him that he’s not having fun.”

Last season, Boyd led the ACC in pass efficiency (165.59), yards per attempt (9.12) and touchdown passes (36).

In those same categories after three games, he sits in fourth (148), fifth (7.6) and fifth again (6).

“He just presses. He’s a pleaser,” Morris said. “He’s as good as you’ve got in the country, but if you watched football this past Saturday – there were other guys that pressed too.

“I just said, ‘Hey, look it’s going to come with time. Just relax and operate the system.’ I think he’s wanting it and wanting it today and not understanding it’s a process.”

Adjusting to the process has been unit-wide offensively with, at times, frustrating inconsistency.

“We sputter here and there. We have big plays here and there,” senior lineman Brandon Thomas said. “South Carolina State week we just threw guys in there and had to mix and match. This last week was the first week we had the group together since the Georgia game and we just need to get consistent as a whole.”

Morris says the emphasis on seeing younger players in action against S.C. State then a long layoff were the prime culprits in a sluggish night in Raleigh.

“You can practice for 22 straight days,” he said, “but until you get into a live game situation where you’re on a consistent pattern and routine – it’s not going to happen.

“The great thing about this now is now for the next six weeks you’re into a routine. That’s what’s good to see. It will come.”

Morris says he’s keeping positive with his players – stressing the 3-0 record thus far, but he also relishes having a group that knows it’s not performing the standard set last season.

“I love every bit of (adversity),” said Morris. “I love to win, but I’m a competitor and I want our offense to play well. I want to score every drive. That’s me. That’s what we want, but bottom-line we won. It give us an opportunity to coach them hard and challenge them.”

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Comments » 7

waran writes:

He better be or he will lose Millions. He will not get the Heisman and we will not be #1. The Coaches can keep talking about the 12 days gap between SCSU and the NCSU games but we did not play well even with SCSU. Its time to play like every game is UGA. Go Tigers.

rsb8931#286014 writes:

in response to waran:

He better be or he will lose Millions. He will not get the Heisman and we will not be #1. The Coaches can keep talking about the 12 days gap between SCSU and the NCSU games but we did not play well even with SCSU. Its time to play like every game is UGA. Go Tigers.

He will only win the Heisman if we go undefeated or maybe we can lose 1 game. He will never be the number 1 draft pick no matter what his numbers are, unless the team that picks first needs a quarterback. You are right. Our offense was a little suspect against SCST. We will put it together in a big way this week against Wake I have a feeling. I sure hope so, at least. And yes, the Georgia game was great and too bad all the games can't be that good. I'm afraid that's the reality of playing the game every week or two. Some days are just better than others.

lhaselden writes:

Even f an NFL team needs a QB they will not choose Boyd with 1st pick... he is only 6'1". I expect him to go in the second round. I think he might win the Heisman if he stays healthy and we keep winning. I hope he at last get invited to NY for the awards ceremony. I think Boyd is one of the best 5 players in college football this year and one of the toughest. Glad he is a Tiger!

clemvol writes:

Forget about the Heisman. Forget about the schedule.Forget about how the season will end. The focus is on Wake Forest and only on Wake Forest now.The Tiges need to beat this team like they should....badly and nothing less. The Tigers need to keep the eyes straight ahead and leave nothing to question. Now,go beat the deacons,don't hold back, put a statement on this game. Now,just do it.Go Tigers

TrevorT writes:

As long as we're all whining about offensive stats rather than losing a game, I'm a happy man. GO TIGERS!

TigerNE writes:

in response to rsb8931#286014:

He will only win the Heisman if we go undefeated or maybe we can lose 1 game. He will never be the number 1 draft pick no matter what his numbers are, unless the team that picks first needs a quarterback. You are right. Our offense was a little suspect against SCST. We will put it together in a big way this week against Wake I have a feeling. I sure hope so, at least. And yes, the Georgia game was great and too bad all the games can't be that good. I'm afraid that's the reality of playing the game every week or two. Some days are just better than others.

It's looking like Jax will be the first to pick and they need a QB worse than any other team by far. They may like Bridgewater more than Boyd.

cuGIZ82 writes:

in response to TrevorT:

As long as we're all whining about offensive stats rather than losing a game, I'm a happy man. GO TIGERS!

I second that...

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