Finding his groove, Boyd reminds himself that 'every year, we've started a little bit off'

Dabo Swinney: 'He's not going to get worse - he's just going to continue finding that rhythm'

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

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris believes that Tajh Boyd may have been pressing during the first quarter of the season, but that he turned a corner on 'Play 59' against N.C. State.

Dabo Swinney is confident that his senior quarterback is not only back on track, but will more than live up to "our monstrous expectations."

What does Tajh Boyd think?

"Being so much involved in this offense, and having done it for a while, I have expectations of what the offense is supposed to look like and be like," said Boyd. "I think you kind of forgot what it was like early in each year.

"You forget that every year, we've started a little bit off, a little bit on the other side of the fence. For me, it's important to remember that it does take time."

Boyd's 2013 start has been anything but catastrophic.

It includes a national-player-of-the-week performance in Clemson's opening victory over Georgia, an out-of-rhythm half-game against S.C. State, and then a slow start followed by a fast, winning finish against N.C. State.

"He missed a couple throws early, and missed a couple of reads," said Swinney. "But then he comes back and plays lights-out. It's like 'OK, here we go.'"

Boyd said the Tigers' unusual start-and-stop schedule, with its third-weekend open date, hasn't helped him get into the groove he expects of himself.

"We had a game against Georgia, and then I didn't play much in the S.C. State game," Boyd said. "Then we had a bye week. I'm thinking that threw off my rhythm a little bit. In this offense, in the position that I'm in, rhythm is everything.

"I think we started to get that back in the second half (against N.C. State). So I'm excited about this stretch we have coming up. But I can't press. I just need to come out, have fun, and continue to lead the guys."

Morris says he can pinpoint the play against N.C. State on which he believes Boyd turned a corner.

With Clemson leading 13-7 and facing a second-and-22 at the Tiger 40, Boyd dropped back, stood in the pocket under pressure, and delivered a 20-yard strike to Martavis Bryant. On the next play, Boyd ran for a first down.

He was back in command, and led the Tigers to a pair of touchdowns that put the game out of reach, 26-7.

"The art of being an offensive football team is getting into a groove and a rhythm, even as a play-caller,” Morris said. “Until play 59 of that game, Tajh never settled down enough to where he was making confident throws and standing in the pocket.

“It was the way he dropped back and the way he set his feet (on the 2nd-and-22 pass). It was as if he wasn’t thinking, he was just playing football. He put it on the money, and from that point we had back-to-back scoring drives."

Boyd says he's having fun, doing exactly what he returned to school to do.

"I'm just trying to enjoy myself and enjoy my team this last go-round," Boyd said. "I've always expected more of myself than anyone else - I think that's just a part of playing quarterback.

"I know things aren't going to always go exactly as planned. It's the process of the moment. You go out there and try to control what you can. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I have complete control of everything we're trying to do. That starts on the practicing field - doing things so much in practice that when you get to the game, it becomes easy."

Swinney sees Boyd growing further as a quarterback as helps the team find "different ways to win."

"Complete teams find different ways to win," Swinney said. "We've really complemented ourselves well. When the defense has needed the offense to put a drive together, the offense has done that. When the offense has needed the defense to hold up, they've done that. When we've needed a special teams play, we've had that.

"That's what I'm most excited about...that and the way Tajh has taken care of the football. He's done an excellent job of making good decisions and he's made a lot of plays with his legs and his throws.

"He's not going to get worse - he's just going to continue finding that rhythm."

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Comments » 1

rsb8931#286014 writes:

If Tajh threw for 28 touchdowns and 3,100 yards this year would anybody be happy? Is that not real good numbers? That would be his numbers if he were to be 25% off his numbers from last year. If we are 13 and 0 after the first week of December, then those numbers will win him a Heisman Trophy. I got a feeling he got the water out of the gas tank and blew out the fuel line and the car may click on all cylinders from here on out. God help our opponents if he brings his A game to the ball park. Of course, God, please don't help them too much.

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