Thanks, Tajh

On Monday, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd called a players-only meeting, and the first thought that ran through my mind was, "Good for him. That's exactly what this team needs."

Boyd has grown into a leader on the team and within the program, and by calling this meeting, he once again has stepped up to take the reins of the team and not just the offense. Sure, Saturday's loss to Florida State was tough to take, but the season isn't over by a long shot, and someone needs to make sure the Tigers regain their focus and get ready for the rest of the season.

The coaches can do that, and they certainly will do their best to get that done. But there is only so much the coaches can do and say.

When a team that has high hopes like Clemson has for this season suffers its first loss, it needs the leaders among the players to take control and get things refocused on what's next on the schedule. There is no reason to look back now. The Florida State game was a difficult loss to accept, but it's over and done with. No good can come from continuing to look back or thinking about what might have been.

Instead, the Tigers need to look forward and focus on this week, and that means Boston College needs to be the sole focus for this team. That's what makes Boyd's called meeting so important. This team has too many good things going for it to let one loss ruin the season, but Clemson fans have seen it happen before.

The year I always go back to was 1992, and the loss was also to Florida State. Clemson's players put so much energy into that game and trying to show the Seminoles who controlled the ACC (it was the Seminoles' first ACC season competing for the championship) that the 24-20 loss helped wreck the Tigers' season. Clemson lost the next week to Georgia Tech and finished with a 5-6 record as a season that began with high hopes went up in flames.

There have been other examples through the years, and that includes last year.

After rolling through an 8-0 start, Clemson stumbled at Georgia Tech, and that one loss seemed to affect the team for a few weeks. The Tigers stumbled through a close win over Wake Forest and then lost to N.C. State and South Carolina, and Clemson just didn't look like the same team that won its first eight games.

That can't occur again, and Boyd calling the meeting should help keep it from happening again. Boyd took a lot of heat at the end of last year for the team's struggles, but it was a complete team meltdown there for a few weeks. He took that on his own shoulders and has become a real leader of this team (again, not just the offense).

That comes with being a quarterback. The nature of that position has some extra responsibilities that go with being under center. Some players can't handle that, and others don't want to. It says a lot about Boyd that he is embracing those responsibilities. Maybe he saw from his predecessor, Kyle Parker, what can happen when a team's quarterback isn't a leader. Parker was a terrific player for Clemson and led the Tigers to some big wins, but he was not really the leader a team needs its quarterback to be.

Boyd has been that, while being a terrific player, as well. While there were some issues with the team Saturday, Boyd was not one of them. He played well, making the right decisions with his passes, for the most part, and running the ball hard when he was called to do so. The other players on the team seem to have a lot of respect for Boyd, and there is good reason for that: He has earned that with his play on the field and the way he carries himself off the field.

And, again, that's important on this team, considering how young it is and how much leadership those young players need. Clemson's roster is filled with freshmen and sophomores, and that can be seen just by looking at the depth chart for Saturday's game in Boston. Only 10 of the 24 offensive players listed are juniors, seniors or graduate players, and only nine of the 22 players listed on defense fall into those categories.

That's a tremendously young group to be having the kind of success the Tigers have had the past season and four games. It's also a group that can be knocked off track by just one loss and needs someone to lead the way through a tough week to make sure it doesn't become three or four tough weeks.

Boyd is just the person to do that.

Daniel Shirley is the sports editor of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph and co-host of The Morning Show on FoxSports 1670 AM. Follow him on Twitter @DM_Shirley Top Stories