Boyd still looking for the perfect game

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Boyd settled down at Maryland and finished with a flourish
Boyd settled down at Maryland and finished with a flourish

CLEMSON – Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS So. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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seemingly picks up accolades and awards by the bucketful each week, and with good reason.

The Hampton, Va., native, recently added to the Manning Award watch list, has thrown up some impressive numbers through the season’s first seven games as he has led the Tigers to a perfect 7-0 record and a No. 7-BCS ranking.

He is 145-for-232 (62.5%) for 2012 yards, 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions for a passer rating of 159.8.

In three of Clemson’s wins – at home against Auburn and Florida State and at Maryland - the Tigers have needed an offensive explosion and everything Boyd could muster in order to get the win.

As a result, his name is now whispered as a fringe candidate for the Heisman Trophy, but Boyd said earlier this week that he wants to get better, and believes that can happen, especially if he can find a way to put some of his first quarter and first half woes behind him.

He has struggled through early parts of some games, including on the road at Virginia Tech and this past weekend at Maryland, before settling in. In College Park last week, he started out 5-for-11, including a crucial interception, as the Tigers fell into an 18-point hole.

Boyd responded by hitting 21 of his last 27 passes with four touchdowns - including 11 of his last 12 - finishing 26-for-38 for 270 yards and four touchdowns, the spark the Clemson offense needed in its 56-45 victory.

Boyd said this week he has no explanation for the slow starts.

“It wasn’t anything I could explain,” he said. “I just wasn’t feeling it at the moment, and that’s all you can really say about it. Even on my interception, it was a previously-run play, and I knew where the ball had to go and I knew I had to get the ball out there, but my arm just didn’t cooperate with my mind.”

He said he looked up at the scoreboard, saw the big deficit, and knew he had to start performing.

“I looked at the score, and I thought, ‘I have to do everything possible now. I have to do whatever I can to make sure we don’t get further behind.’ And that’s what I tried to do,” he said. “But we are never at a point where we feel like we are out of the game in a situation like that. But, you have to figure out what kind of player you are and what kind person you are at times like that. You have to dig down inside of yourself and find out what you are capable of.”

Boyd said that everyone has an opinion on how he can overcome the early woes.

“I was coming off the field last week, and I think it was Tavaris BarnesTavaris Barnes
RS Fr. Defensive End
#6 6-4, 270
Jacksonville, FL

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’ mom who came up to me and told me I wasn’t throwing right,” he said. Then he jokingly said, “Everybody is telling me what to do. I might have to look at playing the first quarter on Xbox or PS3 before we go out there just to get that out of the way.”

Offensive coordinator Chad Morris said he might have to make sure Boyd gets a new roommate the next time the team plays on the road.

“He may stay in my room,” Morris joked during his Monday session with the media. “You just have to learn how to play on the road. You have to remind yourself that this is a young man who has only played seven ballgames. He’s off to an incredible start. We wouldn’t be in this situation we are today if Tajh Boyd wasn’t playing for us. I think everybody in the country would agree with that. You just find ways to make it happen. That’s the growing process.”

Morris said Boyd’s early play was uncharacteristic.

“It really was. I don’t know,” Morris said. “We’ve all gotten pretty accustomed and pretty used to Tajh, and what he looked like against Auburn and Florida State and how he has kind of come out. We are expecting that every week. He wasn’t on his game early on. Maybe I didn’t throw the ball enough on that opening drive and give him something simple to hit, I don’t know. He definitely wasn’t the Tajh that we have seen in the past. It took him a little time to get settled in and get dialed in.”

Boyd said he feels like every week is a learning experience and he feels like he is getting to the point where he is ready to put a full game together.

“We have to start earlier and hope the tempo is great,” he said. “We have been a great second half team, but we are really looking for that complete game. It is going to happen sooner or later.
Whether that comes from preparing even harder during the week or just focusing better, we have to go out there and compete at all times.

“Nothing is ever going to go perfectly all the time; you just have to keep pushing the issue. We know it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Coach Swinney is always telling us it takes 60 minutes to win a game and we believe that as well. But I want us to have a complete game. We have to. And when we do, watch out.”

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