Boyd says Tigers focused solely on bowl game

by - Senior Writer -

ATLANTA, GA– The Christmas presents have all been unwrapped, but one final gift has yet to be opened, the final gift of college football season – the bowl trip.

For most Clemson fans and players, the bowl trip is a late Christmas present that features a different and exciting locale, the possibility of warm weather and to be treated like kings for a week.

However, this year’s bowl trip isn’t quite as sparkling as year’s past, and has some of the luster of getting a pack of underwear for Christmas. Most players and fans have visited Atlanta several times, games have been played and watched in the Georgia Dome, and the only real excitement comes from the opponent in No. 7 LSU.

And that just might be a good thing.

Clemson quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
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talked late last week about last year’s bowl trip to Miami – fancy hotels on the beach, police escorts everywhere they went – and all of the pomp and circumstance that is usually associated with a BCS bowl game and thinks that the team might have lost focus on the goal somewhere along the way.

The Tigers arrived in Atlanta last night and are firmly tucked away in a hotel less than a mile from the Georgia Dome, and Boyd thinks this year’s team will retain the focus and determination that was gained during physical practices in Clemson last week.

“This is about going out and performing to the best of our abilities,” Boyd said. “The guys have been working hard in the film room and the practice field. It is going to pay dividends. We have to get down to Atlanta and make sure we are there for one reason and one reason only, and that is to win the game. It is going to be a physical game, and we are excited and looking forward to it.

“When we get there, it will be just like a regular game week that we would have here, because it will be five days leading up to the game. We will go in order like we were preparing for a regular season game. We have had a lot of physical practices in the past two weeks – and we’ve had a lot of mental training and mental preparation.”

Boyd said there have been lessons learned from last season’s bowl trip.

“I think there were a lot of lessons learned, from the players to the practices and how they were ran,” he said. “I think it was a lesson for us as a program. At every position I think we learned something from last season and how we prepared. We didn’t come with our best foot forward during last season’s bowl game. I don’t feel like we were into it as much. I think [once the game arrived] we were totally exhausted, and we are much more into it this year. Coach [Dabo] Swinney has done a great job of getting us ready. The game plan is set up, and we just have to make sure we are hitting on all cylinders.”

Boyd said he – like many of the fans – is excited about facing LSU’s defense.

“They are a really good defense, and they are coached really well,” he said. “Coach [John] Chavis has done a great job, wherever he has coached, whether it is at Tennessee or LSU. He has been one of the most consistent coaches in America. They will pose a great challenge for us. I am excited about it, because I think we match up really well against them. I know the guys on the offense are excited about it. I know Coach [Chad] Morris is excited, and I think it will be a fun game for us.”
He then said that a win would mean a lot to a program that lacks respect nationally.

“It can serve as a momentum shifter heading into the offseason, and what everyone perceives us to be,” he said. “We get the spotlight on New Year’s Eve and we have to take advantage of it. There is no one that gives us a chance to win this game outside of Clemson. I can’t wait to get out there and ball out.”

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