Good things come in threes

SUNSET, S.C. - The arranged marriage of Tajh Boyd and Chad Morris has worked out pretty well for Dabo Swinney.

Boyd, Morris and Swinney will embark on their third and final season with Boyd serving as Clemson's starting quarterback when the first practice of the 2013 campaign opens on Friday afternoon.

A relationship made possible by former Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, this season has been four years in the making.

In the months leading up to being named successor to Tommy Bowden, Swinney was a wide receivers coach with no experience as a coordinator.

Just weeks after he was given the title of head coach on a full-time basis, Swinney hit his first homerun on the recruiting trail when convinced Boyd, a five-star quarterback, to sign with Clemson over Ohio State and Oregon.

Another five-star addition was made two years later when Swinney brought Morris in from Tulsa. A disciple of Auburn's Gus Malzahn, Morris spent 16 years as a Texas high school head coach before his one and only season as Tulsa's offensive coordinator.

One ACC title, two seasons and 21 wins later; Clemson fans have a Rosey outlook as Swinney begins his fifth season as head coach.


Before his final season at Clemson, Tajh Boyd is the running for the Heisman.
Boyd, who's been at the helm for all 21 of those wins, has accounted for 8,456 yards and 84 touchdowns during that span. He kicked around the idea of bypassing his final eligibility of college ball before opting to return for one more run with the Tigers.

And his sites are set on a trio of lofty objectives.

"His goal when he came back was to win a national championship. His goal was to be an All-American. His goal was to be a Heisman Trophy candidate," Morris said. "He's got goals that he's setting for himself and our football team. That's where his mindset is."

With one month to go before the season kicks off against Georgia, all three are reasonably within reach.

That's the case -- in part -- because of the level of comfort that's shared between the offensive coordinator and quarterback.

"[Boyd] gets it. He understands it. He knows my personality, I know his personality. He and I think a lot alike in certain situations. Those are things you can't coach. You develop them with time," Morris said. "It's kind of an earned relationship. I fully expect us to be better. I expect us to be more aggressive. I expect us to do more in our offense with a third-year starter back.

"I don't care who it is. I think you look across the country at any level -- any team that's been successful, it starts with the quarterback. If you've got one, you've got a chance, if you've got a good one. If not, you're kind of behind the eight ball, so to speak."

And it certainly helps that Boyd will be protected by a veteran offensive line and surrounded by a group of explosive wide receivers.

"I'm expecting great things out of Tajh this year, just as I said at this time last year," Morris said.

CUTigers.com Top Stories