Improved Tajh Boyd Helps Set Clemson's Sights High

Last season, Tajh Boyd started off the season as good as any quarterback in the country. After his hot start, Clemson faded down the stretch and it became evident that Boyd still had a good bit of his game to work on. What he did in the offseason would be vital to his success and in turn Clemson's success.

At the end of last season, teams had caught onto Boyd. They learned that if he was pressured then he was sure to make a mistake. Boyd showed a lack of speed to break out of the pocket when defenders where in the backfield. Often Boyd would panic and throw into coverage or take a sack when there should have never been one. According to Coach Swinney, 10 sacks from last season could have been avoided by Tajh. Boyd often didn't make the appropriate reads even when he was given time. He often threw the ball into coverage hoping something good would happen but wound up with only 9 touchdowns and throwing 9 interceptions in the last 6 games. Boyd had wholes in his game that needed to be corrected in order for Clemson to avoid taking a step back.

In the offseason, Boyd took the first step by losing weight. He shed 15 pounds since the end of last season and it has already paid off by increasing his mobility; a big weakness last season. Through 2 games, Boyd has avoided a number of sacks that likely he wouldn't have avoided last season. He has also used his mobility to run for a career high 58 yards against Auburn, much of which came in the 4th quarter when the game was on the line. His ability to run seems to have improved his decision making as well. Instead of throwing into coverage he has been able to run the ball or avoid defenders to buy more time.

Boyd's decision making has been much better even without the downfield threat of Sammy Watkins. Watkins draws defenders and opens up opportunities for other receivers. Boyd hasn't had that luxury yet. Instead, Boyd has methodically helped move the ball downfield by passing for short gains. Even without his best weapon, he has a better touchdown to interception ratio, a higher completion percentage, higher QB rating, and the same yards per attempt compared to last season. He even made a critical audible against Auburn changing to the game winning TD pass to DeAndre Hopkins.

Boyd has yet to put up the big yards like he did a season ago but that will come. Boyd has showed mobility and poise; areas that needed to be vastly improved before this season. The Tigers have yet to play a Top 25 opponent but when they do, 10 appears to be ready to put the team on his back. With Sammy Watkins back, it's possible he could catapult Clemson to the status of being the most explosive team in the country.

Back to the Clemson Tigers Newsfeed