NCAA FB

Clemson OC, QB share growing success

Share This Story

   
 

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By PETE IACOBELLIAP Sports Writer

Two years ago, newly hired Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris wasn't sure what to make of talkative, playful and untested quarterback Tajh Boyd.

What Morris found was a kindred spirit in Boyd, eager to learn and ready to trigger an attack that's breaking records and passing milestones every time it takes the field.

''Tajh is a guy who's having fun,'' Morris said.

Both Morris and Boyd appear at the top of their games for the 10th-ranked Tigers (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) who face Maryland (4-5, 2-3) on Saturday.

Morris' offense put up 718 yards last week in a victory at Duke, the second highest total in program history and sixth time its surpassed 500 yards this season. Boyd leads the ACC with 2,680 yards and 25 TDs.

Coordinator and quarterback clicked almost from the start, Morris remembered, although it took a while for Boyd to fully understand the commitment to detail necessary to succeed.

Boyd and the Tigers were one of college football's biggest surprises in 2011, Morris' high-flying offense helping the team a surprising 8-0 start. Then came the disastrous 1-3 finish where Boyd's productivity plummeted and his decision making fell apart.

He went from a Heisman Trophy hopeful with 24 TDs and three interceptions the first eight games to throwing seven interceptions and only four touchdowns down the stretch.

The Tigers recovered to win the ACC championship before they were humiliated in the Orange Bowl by West Virginia, surrendering a bowl record for points allowed in a 70-33 loss.

While the focus in that debacle was the Clemson's defense, Boyd threw of pair of interceptions as he struggled to keep pace with the Mountaineers' offense.

Morris knew if Clemson were to pick up its offensive pace, Boyd had to take another big step forward.

The two spent time this offseason working on positioning and footwork. Boyd put time in the weight room, losing about 15 pounds to be more mobile when asked to run.

''Running the ball is one of those things where you have to gain confidence,'' Boyd said. ''If you don't grow up running, you don't feel as comfortable in it. Me and my dad used to talk about it all the time.''

Boyd has already rushed for 350 yards through nine games after getting 218 a year ago.

''I feel faster,'' Boyd said with his trademark smile.

Morris likes the dual threat Boyd's become, although he's not buying into his junior standout's speed. ''He said he was fast. I said, `I don't know about that, but at times you look fast,''' Morris said.

The two also spend plenty of time discussing the pressures of the positions. As Clemson's starting quarterback, Boyd is the most high-profile - and highly scrutinized - athlete on a campus crazy about football.

''It's a big deal to be quarterback for the Clemson Tigers,'' Morris said. ''And with that comes pressure.''

Morris knows about pressure. He's the highest paid assistant in the game at $1.3 million a year and shared with Boyd his worries over calling the perfect offensive game. Boyd acknowledged how difficult it is to strive for mistake-free football with fans' judging you on a play-by-play basis.

The two agreed the sport should be well-played, but fun.

''Sometimes we all feel like we have to be perfect and we don't,'' Morris said. ''Really talked to him about that.''

The pair of also talked about managing the game with the right choices. So far, Morris likes what's he's seen.

''He's the leader of this football team and he's playing like it,'' Morris said.

The pair have spent plenty of time talking about football, life, anything and everything to develop the necessary bond that makes offense go. ''We've got to think so much alike,'' Morris said.

Morris also acts as Boyd's spokesman when things go wrong. When teammates and other coaches want to console or give guidance, Morris might shoo them away so Boyd can have some space. ''You say, `Hey, leave him alone. He'll figure it out,''' Morris said. ''He's done a great job figuring out how to fix things.''

Boyd passed for four touchdowns in Clemson's 56-45 comeback victory at Maryland last year. Terps coach Randy Edsall believes Boyd is much stronger and polished with a year's more experience.

''Boyd is playing extremely well, just throwing the deep ball well and making good decisions,'' Edsall said.

Both Boyd and Morris might have choices to make whenever Clemson's season ends. Boyd is eligible for the NFL draft while Morris' name is sure to be tagged to several head-coaching openings. Neither spends much time thinking about that now with Clemson going so well.

''We've just got to keep working and continue to grow,'' Boyd said.

Tagged: Clemson, Tajh Boyd

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash