Tajh Boyd ready for season

by - Senior Writer -
Boyd said he has had a great fall camp and has grown a lot from this spring.

CLEMSON – Tajh Boyd said the slowest summer he can remember has suddenly accelerated, and he can’t believe that game day is actually just around the corner.

The Tigers kick off the season against North Texas in just over a week, and Boyd knows that his first collegiate game action will probably occur at some point during that contest, something he couldn’t envision back in June and July.

“I can remember running in the stadium, and it was hot and I felt like I was about to die,” Boyd said following Thursday’s practice. “I thought that the summer would never end, and I don’t really watch the calendar, so this has kind of snuck up on me. But I can’t wait to get out there.”

The redshirt freshman out of Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia, said that fall camp has gone by so fast because he has gotten so much out of it.

“Fall camp has been great, it’s been a great experience,” he said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and grown a lot since the spring, so this has been a good time for me. Just going through everything has been good – every phase of the game has gotten better, and just in time for the season. Hopefully I can get out there on the field, and whatever opportunities I get I can take advantage of them.”

Boyd admitted that he was overwhelmed at times during the spring, and said that part of that was just trying to get a grasp on everything a college quarterback is responsible for - from the time he receives the play from the sideline until the snap of the ball. At Clemson, the center is responsible for the Mike call [pointing out the middle linebacker] and calling the blitzes in between the line, but the quarterback is responsible for everything from the outside.

“You get the play, and then you make sure that everybody is set,” he said. “Then you start your cadence to see if they are going to blitz, and if so, you might need to change the protection. But you can’t just change the protection on one little thing because our protections are based on the formation, and you might have four or five changes, or you have them slide a certain way. We have four or five different ways to read a defense – grid, route, rotation, etc., so you have to take that into account, and all of that is going through your head and you are just trying to play.”

The Tigers don’t call many audibles at the line of scrimmage, but Boyd said the offense does have certain packages for certain plays that are answers for what the quarterback reads off of the defense and the linebackers, and that most of the adjustments come after the ball is snapped.

“You might have a play called – like 86 Right Kilo Double Index Thin,” he said. “You have the tight end lined up in a 3-by-1 set and you can have a post or a two route [quick slant], which can change based on the safeties, and then you‘ve got two underneath routes with the outside receivers. Based on how the safety rotates, you can work the post or the two route, or you can work the two underneath routes, and then you can check down if have time for that.”

Boyd said that the hard part comes in making what you see on film correlate to what you see on the field.

“It is different when you are watching it on film, which is a lot easier,” he said. “Then you get out on the field, and you’re like ‘where is everybody, where do they line up, who is the Mike and who isn’t,’ but once you start getting the hang of it, it gets a lot better. For me, that was in the beginning to middle of the fall camp. In the spring, I had no idea what was going to happen, I was just winging it.”

Incumbent quarterback Kyle Parker flirted with ending his college football career over the summer in order to dedicate himself to professional baseball, and Boyd said he was ready to step in and be the starter if that had been the case, but now that Parker is back for another year, he has realized it is probably the best thing for his development.

“I am definitely a very competitive person, and I want to start,” he said. “But this may turn out to be one of the best things for me. He [Parker] helps me out a lot of times, and I know I can go to him with questions. There will be a situation this season where we will need an experienced quarterback – not saying that I’m not capable, but it’s just the experience level. Every opportunity I get I am going to take advantage of.”

Watching Parker has also enabled Boyd to pick up what he thinks is Parker’s biggest strength – the ability to shake off a mistake and come back out firing.

“Just the way he comes back from mistakes,” he said. “If he throws a pick – in my mind, I’m like ‘ah man’ but he might come back out and throw a touchdown on the next play. I talk to him about that. And one time I asked Coach Napier why he was yelling at me all the time and he told he was getting me ready for the game, and that you have to be able to wipe off stuff like that.”

With his debut a little over a week away, Boyd said the only nervousness he feels is in wanting to make sure that every appearance he has is a good one.

“I gotta be able to make sure I can step in there right away,” he said. “I don’t really wanna go in there and it to be a drop-off. Then, it’s like showing them that I’m not ready for all of these reps. If I come in there looking experienced, looking like a leader- the better I do, the more reps I get.”

Boyd finished by saying that he hopes the game isn’t too far out of reach when he gets his chance.

“I’m trying to throw touchdowns every time I get in there,” he said with his trademark smile. “I don’t really want to go in there and it be a goal line formation in the middle of the field. I’m gonna be like ‘Ah, coach, I wanna throw that thing’. I just want to go out there and have some fun. North Texas is not going to be a cake walk, so we gotta go out here and prepare- just work. I think we are doing that every day. The closer the season gets, you can tell the more focused everybody’s getting. It’s gonna be good.”

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