Do you believe the hype?

CLEMSON - It almost sounds like a broken record, but once again Saturday there was plenty to talk about when it came to Tajh Boyd's game.

Admit it.

You, the average Clemson fan, are tired of hearing the preseason discussion on Tajh Boyd.

In previous years you've been tricked by web sites like this one into thinking Rendrick Taylor is going to win the Heisman Trophy or Reggie Merriweather is going to rush for over 1,000 yards. So you refuse to buy into the hype that Tajh Boyd is the next best thing since sliced bread.

It's understandable, of course. There have been a number of talented players over the years who are dominant in practice, but never have it translate into game day production.

Honestly, that happens at every school across the country - and especially at programs that recruit at the high level Clemson usually does.

In all fairness, Taylor suffered a series of tough injuries, including a broken elbow, just when it looked like he was going to become the beast we all thought he would be.

And Merriweather was a very productive running back during his time, too.

So now here we are with Tajh Boyd. The last thing most Clemson fans remember from the Tigers' new starter under center was his performance in the Orange & White game, where he completed 8 of 24 passes and the offense, for lack of a better word, sputtered.

There were whispers in June and July and maybe his back up, a freshman mind you, would actually contend for playing time this year if Boyd didn't step up his play. After all, he is the son of an NFL quarterback and looked pretty good at times during spring ball.

Why not?

Fast forward more than two weeks into preseason camp and all of those rumors have quickly disappeared.

Boyd's completion percentage through the three major scrimmages thus far? Through the roof.

Boyd's overall knowledge level of the offense under new coordinator Chad Morris? Through the roof.

Boyd's leadership with the team - both by example and with his words? Again, through the roof.

Boyd's ability to cook a ham-and-cheese omelet for his good friend and potential go-to pass catcher Dwayne Allen? I'm sure that's through the roof, too.

"There are some guys that say they want it and they really don't because they don't show it with their actions." Allen tells CUTigers. "But Tajh definitely shows it with his actions. And he's been proving himself throughout camp."

"He's confident. He's in control of this offense. He knows the checks. He knows the plays. He knows where his check-downs are and he's getting the ball to the right person."

While his stats from Saturday morning's scrimmage won't blow anybody away (8 of 14 for 108 yards and a touchdown), everything else he's done, pretty much has.

And keep in mind he hasn't even been allowed to truly do his thing running the ball yet, either.

"It's been a maturation process for him," Allen said. "Really. He took this summer, didn't take any vacation and got into the playbook. It's different with him."

His offensive coordinator has basically said the same thing throughout camp.

"Am I comfortable at where Tajh is right now?" Chad Morris asked Saturday. "Absolutely. The film study and the offseason work have really paid off for him and that's a good thing. He's done everything we have asked him to and then some."

And his head coach? Well, I could write a 2,000 word article on the praise Dabo Swinney has piled on his starting quarterback the last two weeks.

But still, the questions begged to be asked- is Tajh Boyd the next practice-field all-star who never lives up to the preseason hype? Is everything we are hearing from coaches and players alike through the first two weeks of camp an exaggeration?

In my estimation, it would have to be a conspiracy bigger than Dabo interfering with play calling if that was the case.

Truthfully, we won't know with certainty until he actually takes to the field as a starter- something he's never done in his first two years at Clemson.

Maybe the bright lights of playing in front of 80,000 will get to him. Maybe he'll face a series of unexpected blitz packages that rattle him early on.


But at the same time, if he stays healthy, it seems reasonable to assume the pieces are in place not only for Boyd, but for Clemson's offense, to take a healthy step forward in 2011. He has more playmakers at his disposal than his counterpart Kyle Parker did a year ago. He also has an offense to work with that has an actual identity and direction.

That has help too.

But in the meantime, it's more of the same from Tajh Boyd.

He quietly gets the job done, while garnering more support from his coaches and teammates as each day passes.

And I'm here to write about it. Top Stories