Tiger Tidbits - Boston College Edition

by - Senior Writer -

The Clemson Tigers are coming off an emotional loss to Florida St., so it was good to see a team leader like quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Jr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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initiate a players-only team meeting and get all of the players on the same page.

Right guard Tyler ShatleyTyler Shatley
RS Jr. Offensive Guard
#62 6-3, 295
Icard, NC

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told me Tuesday afternoon that there were no fiery proclamations or dramatic speeches, that the meeting was quick and to the point and lasted about five minutes. Then the Tigers went out and had one of the best practices of the season Monday afternoon.

Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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has mentioned that at times over the past few years, the team lacked true leaders, and many people automatically look to the quarterback to be one of those leaders. Last year, Tajh felt like he hadn’t earned the right to speak up. This year, he feels like he not only has the right, but that the other players look to him to set the tone.

"I feel like that to an extent. After a while you start to earn some things, because of the work you put in and the commitment you have,” Boyd said Tuesday. “When you have people show up at the meeting, it's like a respect level. Being the quarterback of this team, it's not just like you're the leader of the offense. You want to see things run smoothly everywhere. People always ask about things like we're separate. Offense does not win games, defense doesn't and special teams doesn't. We're not separate. Regardless of the situation, that loss goes to this team collectively as a unit. There's no need for anything to try to divide us.”

Spoken like a true leader.

*I spoke with big Montravius Adams Monday evening for our story, and I think it is safe to say that Adams – the nation’s No. 1 overall defensive tackle prospect – wasn’t overwhelmed with his visit to Florida St. I’ve spoken to Adams several times over the past few months, and I hope I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for him. Enough to say that he is a lock to Clemson? Nope. But he does understand that he has the opportunity to play early as a Tiger, and Clemson’s coaches are making sure he knows that. In case you didn’t see it, he is planning on bringing his mother up for a visit on November 10th, when Clemson plays Maryland. That could be a huge day for Clemson, even though he still says he will wait until later to make his decision.

*Speaking of defensive players – One of the great things about hanging around in the press box before and during big college football games is the ability to talk to NFL scouts. I grabbed one for a few moments before the game and we talked about the differences – of which there are many – between the Florida St. defense and the Clemson defense. He told me that over the past three or four years, Florida St. has simply recruited better on the defensive line and in the secondary. That is something we all already knew, of course, but he went on to say that he never understood why a school like Clemson would recruit so many smaller defensive linemen, guys that simply get blown out by offensive linemen.

With that said, that is what makes the 2013 recruiting class so valuable in my eyes. DT prospect Scott Pagano is a full-grown man already, and I’ve seen what Robert Nkemdiche can do. I saw Shaq LawsonShaq Lawson
Defensive End
#90 6-4, 240
Central, SC

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play several times at Daniel [he will be back in January] and I feel like he could have helped the team this season. Add in players like Jayron Kearse – the safety prospect that blew me away at Dabo’s camp – and linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, and the Tigers have some studs coming in who can help right away. And help they will - I simply don’t see any of them redshirting. Adding Montravius Adams to that group gives Clemson a solid group to build on. Grown men indeed.

*Tyler Shatley is a fun one to talk to, and he said it didn’t take Clemson’s offensive line too long to realize that they could match up with Florida St.’s vaunted defensive line. In fact, he said the players knew they could match up once they watched the film of Clemson’s 2011 victory over the Noles. That was borne out in Saturday’s game as Clemson’s front five did a solid job.

You have to love the depth that Clemson is building at the position, and there are several players that are seeing significant snaps this season. Clemson loses just one lineman – Dalton FreemanDalton Freeman
Gr. Center
#55 6-5, 265
Pelion, SC

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– for next season, and will bring back a wealth of experience. However, I would like to see the coaches get another offensive lineman or two or seven in this class. Maverick Morris is the lone commitment for 2013, and I know the coaches feel like they have good numbers up front, but…..I have seen too many offensive linemen lost to knee injuries, back injuries, etc. to feel comfortable taking just one.

The 2009 recruiting class is a prime example of what I mean – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney came in and took just 12 players in 2009, saving scholarships for down the road, scholarships he has used over the past couple of seasons to bring in an impressive haul. However, when you miss on a couple of players in such a small class, it can have ramifications down the road. Such as this season on the defensive side of the ball.

*Former Clemson running back Mike BellamyMike Bellamy
Running Back
#5 5-10, 175
Nocatee, FL

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isn’t exactly setting the desert on fire. Last week, he had one carry for five yards.

*The Florida St. press box isn’t exactly easy to reach (it’s on the ninth floor of the tower) and the media has to wait on the two working elevators along with all of the fans trying to get to the suites. The lines can be long, and if you happen to be wearing any orange, not exactly pleasant.

But for those that care, the press box food was decent. Chicken or beef pot pie and broccoli for the main meal, with ice cream bars doled out at halftime, along with M&M’s, boiled peanuts and popcorn. However, as we were leaving the postgame interviews and heading upstairs to finish the stories, we wondered if anything in Tally would still be open when we left around 2 a.m. We didn’t need to worry – they had beef brisket barbecue sandwiches with sauce and sausage dogs waiting on us when we got back upstairs. Not exactly healthy for 1 a.m. but still welcome.

That’s enough for this week, we will have more after the Boston trip.

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