Figuring it out

CLEMSON - By all accounts, Tajh Boyd's grasp of Chad Morris' offense is exactly where it needs to be at this point in spring practice. But there's plenty to work on too.

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CUTigersTV: Tajh Boyd



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And he'll be the first to tell you.

"Specifically, me throwing the ball away," Boyd tells CUTigers after Saturday's scrimmage in Death Valley. "It's steadily coming because I've always been one of those players who tries to make a play no matter what the situation is.

"You might be able to do that in pop warner in high school but at this level you have to take the points when you can get them instead of trying to force things."

Sound familiar?

It should. It was only last season, in what could be deemed the most critical turnover of the year, that Kyle Parker threw a fade pattern to DeAndre Hopkins near the goal line against Florida State that was intercepted.

Had Clemson scored, the Tigers likely would have won the game and the ACC's Atlantic Division. But the turnover gave the Seminoles momentum and ultimately led to a bitter defeat.

Make no mistake about it, those kinds of plays will have to be eliminated in 2011 if the Tigers are going to show any kind of significant improvement on offense.

Boyd knows it. And his head coach Dabo Swinney does too.

"There are a lot of moving parts in this offense," Swinney said. "The quarterback in this system- there are a lot of things that happen on the move and he has to make the right decision. And if it does, we have a high probability of making a big play."


"I'm not trying to do too much but I want it to look like I've been out there three of four years (this fall). - Tajh Boyd (Roy Philpott)
Boyd did a solid job Saturday, completing 8 of 16 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns - one to Hopkins and one to freshman tight end Sam Cooper.

But Swinney said it's the little things that are ultimately going to determine his success: ball handling, taking what the defense gives you, and most of all making good decisions in this new scheme.

"The game has slowed down for him. He really understands what he is doing," he said. "Sometimes he gets a false sense of security with that purple jersey on and I have to constantly remind him of that.

"But I think the game has slowed down for him. The next step is the few discipline things that he needs to get a grip on."

Boyd realizes the spotlight that is about to shine of him, of course. And he is taking every possible opportunity to make sure he's properly prepared, including staying at home during spring break instead of hitting the beaches or other hot spots college kids were visiting last week so he could study film.

"I'm trying to do this on the go and play like a veteran," Boyd said. "I'm not trying to do too much but I want it to look like I've been out there three of four years (this fall). I'm going to do that this summer as well so I can be the best player I can be."

If Boyd can do exactly that this coming season there's reason for optimism.

As close as the Tigers were a year ago to repeating as Atlantic Division champions, consistent, quality play under center was severely lacking.

Slowly but surely he seems to be figuring it out.

"The main thing about playing quarterback in this offense is putting your team in the best situation as far as the way you make reads and controlling the offense," he said.

"We had some plays today where there was nothing going on and I'm trying to make plays with my feet but I would lose three yards. So I need to make that a 2nd and 10 instead of a 2nd and 13 or 15."

As long as he doesn't throw it to the under team, well, that's OK too.

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