Morris pushes Boyd to be better under pressure

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Fall camp is a time to work out the kinks, get used to the hitting and wearing pads and getting in shape. It’s checking out which freshmen are going to play, which veterans might take a step back, and the installation of new wrinkles on both offense and defense.

For Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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, however, fall camp has been all about the pressure and learning what he calls “total control” of Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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’ offense.

Boyd was a big part of Clemson’s 8-0 start a year ago, throwing 24 touchdown passes against just three interceptions, leading to early talk of a possible Heisman Trophy run. That talk came to a crashing halt as Boyd struggled over the next six games, tossing just nine touchdown passes against six interceptions, the victim of pressure resulting from a leaky offensive line, an inept defense and injuries to key players.

Heading into that late October game in Atlanta against Georgia Tech, Boyd hadn’t seen much pressure, but Yellow Jacket defensive coordinator Al Groh found a way to dial up the pressure off the edges against Boyd, who threw two interceptions as the Tigers suffered their first loss.

Two weeks later against N.C. State, a Boyd fumble led to a Wolfpack score, and he tossed two more interceptions that thwarted scoring chances. A week after that, it was much the same at South Carolina as teams endeavored to take away Clemson’s explosiveness by putting pressure on Boyd.

However, Boyd admits that many of the problems were self-inflicted.

“The time when you get complacent is when you get beat,” Boyd said. “You start to do things that are outside of you. For me, I wasn’t trusting what I was taught. I wasn’t even in my drop half of the time in games. I’m stepping up in the pocket and now I’m at the line of scrimmage because I didn’t get deep enough in my drop. You have to trust in your team, trust in yourself, trust in what you’re taught. That’s when things go right. It’s all about being consistent.”

Morris has decided to take Boyd’s development a step further in fall camp, however, trusting that his signal caller has learned from last season’s mistakes and using the practices to put even more pressure on Boyd. Morris is making Boyd learn how to audible in certain situations, but there have been times in camp where Morris has NOT allowed Boyd to check out of a play simply because he knows the defense will be in his quarterback’s face early and often.

Boyd said Thursday that it is all part of the learning process.

“We get looks against certain coverages or certain defenses, and he is like, ’Alright what are you going to do in certain situation?’ Or. ‘This play obviously doesn’t work in this scenario, so what are you going to do to check out of it,’ ” Boyd said. “We have some base stuff where we can check out of it and then we have some stuff where I have to think about it a little bit more.”

Boyd said he relishes the opportunity to be more in control of the offense.

“Just the opportunity to have that freedom in this offense has been great,” he said. “We just have to keep growing that aspect of it. That is one of those things you have to keep improving on – that is the next step. That is ‘total control’ and it is coming along.”

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