Morris wants Boyd to relax, have fun

CLEMSON - Chad Morris wants his third-year starting quarterback to have a little more fun.

During his weekly media obligation, Morris said that he thinks Tajh Boyd has started to put a little too much pressure on himself.

"Tajh has got to relax," Morris said. "Tajh has got to go play. I've shared that with him. We talked about it. Tajh has got to go have fun."

Through the first three games of Boyd's final Clemson season, Boyd has completed 56 of 90 passes for 683 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He's also second on the team with 90 rushing yards and first with three rushing touchdowns.

For most quarterbacks, those numbers are pretty solid. But Boyd's set the bar pretty high since taking over the starting job in 2011.

"He's a great competitor. He wants to be perfect. He wants to make every throw. He wants to do it all," Morris said.

During Thursday night's 26-14 win at N.C. State, it took Boyd 58 plays to reach the standard that he expects to reach game in and game out.

"From play 59 to play 82, he played extremely well," Morris said. He led us to back-to-back scoring drives and that was good to see. I'm excited about what I saw on that last bit."

A little help up front

With four starters back from last season, the offensive line was supposed to be one of the team's strengths. That hasn't been the case.

"Of any group you have, that group has got to play together. They have to," Morris said. "You've got to find the right continuity there. Whatever that continuity is, whatever the right five is, we've got to find that five."

Morris said they've already begun to look at using some different combinations along the starting front.

"Some guys haven't quite played to the capability that they played to last year. Some guys are playing better than they did last year," Morris said. "I think it presents a great challenge for us. It's wide-open. We're going to try some other combinations and we're going to live with it."

Though he didn't get too deep into specifics, Morris did say that Shaq Anthony could start at right tackle. Isaiah Battle, who's been suspended for Saturday's game against Wake Forest, won't be an option at left tackle.

"It gives opportunities for some of these other guys to get their chance. They want their chance. They've been hollering for their chance. Here it is. Now go answer it," Morris said. "If I'm some of those guys in that room, I'm fired up. I'm excited about the opportunity that's going to present itself, now I've got to go make the best of it."

Looking at the Deacs

Wake Forest has been running a 3-4 base defense since Morris arrived to Clemson in 2011. This season, the Demon Deacons are sixth in the ACC in total defense, giving up an average of 311.5 yards per game.

"They've got seven guys returning back off their team. I think there are three or four of those guys that are now in their third year as a starter," Morris said.

One of those multi-year starters is defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock. The 5-foot-11, 250-pound senior is second on the team with 30 tackles and first with eight tackles for loss and first with three sacks.

"Great player…Plays hard every play. This guy is relentless every play," Morris said. "He's definitely somebody that has caused some problems against other teams. He's caused some problems with us over the years.

"You've got to put a body on him. He's very elusive. He'll spin. He does a good job of moving. He's a very good player. Obviously, we'll have to have him accounted for."

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