Dye works his way back

CLEMSON -- Xavier Dye's three catch performance against Maryland was the result of hard work.

Xavier Dye likens the current state of the Clemson football program to valley he found himself in earlier this year.

"I was down and had to work my way back up…that's kind of how the team is," he said. "We've hit this rough spot and just have to bounce back."

Dye's contemplation of transferring was well-publicized. By the time it surfaced publically, he had already decided to stay. He set himself back by missing two practices and was scratched from playing that week against Boston College.

Relegated to the third team that following Monday, he's battled his way back and is competing get back into starting lineup.

Dye said he's working hard to do what he can to help move Clemson's record back to the winning side of .500.

Coach Dabo Swinney has taken notice and is seeing "an emergence of confidence" in Dye.

"A lot of that comes from having a little bit of success and working hard, and he is reaping the benefits of working hard," Swinney said.

Before Saturday's 24-21 loss at Maryland, Dye's only catch went for four yards in Clemson's 37-14 win over Middle Tennessee. On Saturday, he hauled in three for 29 yards.

With a fresh sense of motivation and confidence, Dye continues to focus on doing his part. There was too much hard work in the offseason for this year end up poorly.

He said, "We didn't expect it to be like this. But it's a great chance for us to go out and show that we can do it."

Dye acknowledged that there must be some improvement at wide receiver. He believes an established rotation could help him perform at his best on game days.

"For me, if I'm in a rhythm, I'm doing good," he said.

Rhythm or not, the issue of dropping passes has been one of the most glaring needs for improvement as the Tigers near the half-way mark point on the schedule. Dye said he the receivers must be sure they see the ball with their eyes and concentrate better—not worrying about what's going on around them and making sure the catch has been made before trying to get up field.

The receivers use several different tools during practice to help improve catching with their hands.

There are also drills that simulate distractions that arise on the field before making the catch.

The tools include a small tennis ball that wraps around the hands, sitting in the palm, emphasizing catching the ball with finger tips. A ball with a tip pained two different colors is used too. Before making the catch, the color must be called out.

Dye's confident it will pay off on Saturdays, starting next week against Wake Forest.

"I feel like we're going to make a good run at the ACC Championship. We've had a few miscues and the ball just hasn't bounced our way," he said.


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