By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- As the Tigers’ sit at 8-0, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd sat down with the media and spoke about the Tigers’ night game at Bobby Dodd Stadium this Saturday, the team’s post game tradition, and his thoughts on being named to the Heisman Watch list.
“Saturday’s game is another night game,” Boyd said. “But the best thing I can say about it is that we always have a lot of support from Clemson fans so seeing that we can’t seem to get a night game here, those are our night games as well. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and just ready to get to work.”
The Yellow Jackets have beaten the Tigers in several heartbreakers in the past few years, including twice during their 2009 season as the two teams faced off in the ACC Championship game which was won by the Jackets.
“They’re well coached,” Boyd said. “Great team, great fundamentals and good at what they do. It’s always a challenge going up against them and it will be Saturday as well. We just have to prepare like we never have before, it’s going to be a tall task for the offense, defense and special teams. Will have to be a joint effort in order to win this game, but we’re excited about it.”
With Georgia Tech running the triple option offense, Boyd believes that it is even more important this week to maximize on the Tigers’ offensive opportunities since they won’t be running as many plays as they’re used to.
“We’ve got to capitalize every time we get the ball because they do have opportunities to manage the game and clock very well,” Boyd said. “It’s going to be a test to our defense too to help us get the ball back as well. Every time we get the ball we’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The Tigers’, who now rank No. 6 in the national polls, and No. 5 in the projected BCS rankings, are the highest they’ve ever ranked before. And tight end Dwayne Allen was very matter of fact when he stated that if players or coaches say that they don’t pay attention to the rankings, they’re lying.
“It’s definitely something we’re aware of, with the two top 10 teams losing last weekend,” Boyd said.
“We don’t put too much thought into it but we had a gathering at my house after the game and were locked into the Wisconsin/Michigan State game. I thought if the game went into overtime, Wisconsin would pull it out but that hail-mary pass when time expired, I may have been in the middle of the street, I won’t say I was. It just shows us that you can win or lose a game because it is college football, you just have to put in the work.”
One of the main topics this week during interviews has been Coach Swinney’s post game dance routines, and Allen said on Tuesday that if he were to judge, Coach Swinney may have an edge on Boyd as far as dancing is concerned.
“I got a few texts about that during class, I don’t know why Dwayne keeps taking shots at me,” Boyd said. “When he dances, he dances like Cheeseburger Eddie from the Longest Yard, with the robot and stuff so I don’t think his dancing is very superior to mine. My dancing varies depending on the occasion, I pop lock, I can shag a little bit too, depending on the mood.”
Boyd loves having that type of atmosphere in the locker room this season when comparing it to the depressing atmosphere that was last season’s locker room.
“To be honest with you, I have a lot of bad memories from last year,” Boyd said. “The locker room used to be so depressing. I think that comes into account when you play these games as well, knowing that we’re playing for each other out on that field, and bringing that satisfaction from the field into the locker room after the game. Knowing that a locker room like that will be waiting for you is an awesome feeling; it’s one of the things that we look forward to every week.”
After spring practice Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris had a lot of doubts about Boyd and his ability to control this type of offense. He told Boyd that he would have to put in a lot of work during the summer if he wanted to be successful, and reminded him that being quarterback at Clemson University was an honor not a right or privilege. Morris saw a huge transformation though in Boyd right away in the summer and believes that he has truly taken ownership of this offense and team and that’s why he’s now being mentioned in the Heisman race and is leading the nation in touchdowns.
“After the spring, Coach Morris said I had potential but wasn’t where he wanted me to be yet,” Boyd said. “He told me that he needed everything I had over the summer, whether it was putting time into the film room or work on technique. He told me that this offense will only go as far as the quarterback goes, and that my leadership was going to be accounted for so I took that pretty personal. Growing up, I was never told what I couldn’t do; I never like to hear that so I’ve been working off that. It’s paying dividends right now, but we’re still not where we want to be as an offense.”
As a red shirt sophomore, and first time starter what is it like to hear Tajh Boyd and Heisman in the same sentence?
“It’s great honestly, something that you dream of as a kid,” Boyd said. “Just to be mentioned is an honor in itself. I’m not looking at it too much right now, we’ll find out how things are in December. All I can do now is keep improving every week and helping this team get prepared to play against GA Tech.”
One of the main reasons why Coach Swinney believes this team has been so successful is in the way they distribute the ball to multiple weapons each game.
“Getting everyone involved in the game is probably one of the most satisfying feelings,” Boyd said. “That was the best I felt after any of the games this year after throwing five touchdowns passes to five different guys against UNC. Coming to the locker room and knowing that the ball got distributed and it wasn’t a one or two man show was great. We work as a team, and one individual player or two shouldn’t account for the whole team so when everyone’s getting their share it’s a big thing. We need to continue to work on it, but Saturday was a glimpse of what this offense is capable of. We’ve got so many playmakers we just have to keep working and keep distributing the ball around.”