Video doesn’t lie: The throw of Tajh Boyd’s life, Batson’s revenge, and much more

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – Monday night’s Chick-fil-A Bowl was the most compelling game I’ve witnessed in my four football seasons on the Clemson beat.

The 2009 Clemson overtime win in Miami was also an exceptional game to watch as an objective observer. But the walk-off victory over LSU –  particularly in the context of ACC vs. SEC and Clemson looking to validate its season against a ranked opponent — was the best theater of the Dabo Swinney (and Travis Sawchik) Eras.

I completed my video review this morning. I could have posted 40 clips as there so much interesting stuff, but let’s start with the throw of Tajh Boyd’s life

This is the best throw of Boyd’s career considering the circumstance, the pressure and the coverage. The size of the window he was throwing into was about 7 millimeters wide and three across, and he did it with pressure encompassing him, on 4th-and-16, on a do-or-die play. It was nearly an impossible throw and it was perfect ball placement. Legend status.

Chad Morris is a good OC. He might be a better quarterback’s coach.

Boyd’s processor

Remember when SCar defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said he didn’t think Boyd went through his progressions, well? Well, Boyd debunked that hypothesis here. Boyd’s first option was a zone-read play, it appeared his second option was a short pass in the flat to a WR, and on his third read he found Hopkins in the back of the end zone to cut the LSU lead to 24-22. Boyd might have struggled in the past with progressions, but he’s made progress in regard to his decision making this year.

The story of 2012: Boyd’s feet

While Boyd has improved in regard to decision making, in no area has he improved more than with his footwork and mobility. We first saw his improved mobility on display in the opener against Auburn. Boyd was able to maintain that elusiveness, and keep his weight down, throughout the season. Quite simply if this is the one-dimensional Boyd of last season, Clemson loses to both Auburn and LSU this season.

Boyd avoided pressure time and time again and carried the ball a whopping 29 times.To me, the biggest improvement of 2012 was Boyd becoming a dual-threat QB.

One more Boyd video: grown-man performance

Think about this: the average FBS team ran 69 offensive plays per game in 2012. Tajh Boyd threw or ran the ball 79 times vs. LSU.

And Boyd was taking shots and finishing runs (See above).

LSU coach Les Miles was shocked Boyd was able to perform like he did in the fourth quarter after absorbing so much contact. So was I.

 Malliciah Goodman goes all Jadeveon Clowney on us

What a performance by Goodman. Spirited, physical and explosive. Where was this his entire career?

 Battle’s baptism by fire and DeAndre Hopkins’ competitiveness

If you look up baptism by fire in a dictionary you’ll see a picture of freshman OT Isaiah Battle playing against Sam Montgomery on Monday night. Battle was inserted in the game to protect Tajh Boyd’s blindside due to Gifford Timothy’s injury. Battle wasn’t perfect but he held his own and even got Montgomery on the ground a few times. The 6-7, 280-pound Battle is what future NFL left tackles look like. He has star upside

As for Hopkins we can talk about the hands, the high-pointing ability, his improved foot quickness but perhaps his most special trait is his competitiveness. His competitiveness is off the charts. And if you make a new chart, it’s off that one, too.

Clemson DL gets after it. Monday’s big winner: Joey Batson

Watch D.J. Reader blow up this 3rd and 1 play in the first half vs. LSU. The biggest surprise of the game to me was how well the young Clemson defensive front played. This is incredibly encouraging for Clemson’s 2013 prospects. To think about a freshman like Reader blowing up this play and now having another year in the weight program along with Carlos Watkins and Vic Beasley, Clemson should be much better up front. Elite teams need elite defensive fronts and Clemson’s front should be largely improved next season if the Chick-fil-A Bowl is an accurate forecast.

The Clemson defense was at its best in the fourth quarter. In part this is from Clemson’s offense being able to run 100 plays and keep the defense off the field, but it also must mean Clemson’s playing strength and endurance was outstanding. Strength coach Joey Batson has taken a lot of heat. He’s become an easy scapegoat … and I’m not sure how much is deserved. But it appeared he and the Clemson sports nutrition staffs have the team in good shape. I don’t hear anyone griping about Batson today.

It was a complete performance from the Tajh Boyd to the DL to the weight room staff. Upon review, it was the top moment of the Dabo Swinney Era.

14 thoughts on “Video doesn’t lie: The throw of Tajh Boyd’s life, Batson’s revenge, and much more

  1. I don’t see how this win validates Batson at all. I did see Dabo take a childish shot at the writers over at STS. Heaven forbid somebody criticize him. I watched Clemson win in spite of the o-line which was slapped around all game long by the LSU D. Clemson won the game but LSU was much more physical as were FSU and SC (last 4 years). The S&C Moffit style program employed by SC and LSU is much more effective than Batson’s outdated one.

    • I’m not a strength and conditioning expert. I’m 5-11, 170. But Batson always seemed like an unusual scapegoat. That said, I have no idea if he’s good or not at what he does. Not sure who deserves most of the credit but Clemson outgained LSU 160-to-1 in the fourth quarter. That is shocking and unprecedented.

      I always felt the nutrition/training table was more of an issue at Clemson and that is now being addressed. But, again, I don’t consider myself an expert on S&C issues.

  2. Must not be reading some of the blogs and irrational people. They were blowing up over Dabo giving him credit. I’ve never seen a conditioning problem, and for strength our guys seem to do well at the combine. And if any deficiencies are because he’s stricter on steroids, I can live with it. Interesting article on steroids in CFB.

    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/01/01/news/steroids-in-college-football/?refid=0

    Go UNC. We’re not mentioned, but Maryland is barred from discipining for a first offense.

    • Tough to know whether S&C is a liability or strength, program to program, more about talent I think. S&C wasn’t an issue for Clemson against LSU.

      Fascinating story. We also ran that story in the Post and Courier last week.

      Looking at body types, particularly in the NFL, and also in college, I wonder how prevalent PEDs are in the game. It’s something that needs to be examined more closely.

      • I agree. Talent and aggression in the trenches. I’ve felt we’ve been technically decent, but I think it’s hard to tell the difference between aggressive and strong on the O-line. And looking over recruiting history, the past two years we’ve gotten 1 (depending on recruiting service used) 4star guy each year, and O-line is the longest developing spot. 3 star guys with a good coach and S&C program can still get squished by 5star guys with a good coach and S&C program.

        I’m also with Travis on the training table. It’s not only weight, but building any kind of strength requires a good diet. The best S&C coach in the world can’t do much for a guy living off hot pockets. With the nutritionist in the offseason, I’m expecting better results. Hopefully it will help speed as well.

        And we aren’t in a vacuum. I’ve seen complaints about our O’line recruiting. For our recent history, we need success before we get a bunch of 5 stars. So do we fill up numbers with 2 star and low 3 star guys or be thin to have room to get the higher ranked guys later?

  3. Conditioning part of S&C has never been an issue even with Batson. For problems just look at our OL. Yes we were going up against a fantastic DL, but when you look at teams with Moffit’s philosiphy, they don’t get beaten as badly as we do.

    Batson’s problems are that he doesn’t emphasize form, the videos Clemson puts out show awful awful form in lifting, and he doesn’t emphasize football strength, he is just concerned with general strength which isn’t as good

  4. The gripe against Batson is evident. One game doesn’t change how often we’ve been pushed around up front both sides, the last several yr. His philosophy is the issue. SC’s turnaround coincided with the overhaul of their s&c dept. No coincidence. Morris & Caldwell have both asked for some changes there and that is fact. There’s a reason why. Heck, we were pushed around by Ball St & even Furman at times. Unacceptable

  5. I don’t want to take credit for these, a poster on another site found these links regarding Clemson prospects entering the NFL. I think they are relevant to the above debate though.

    Here’s a list of players from Clemson who entered the NFL draft under Batson
    and had their strength called into question:

    Jarvis Jenkins http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/draft-2011/players/70308.html

    Gaines Adams (RIP) http://www.bucscentral.com/general-news/bucs-de-adams-i-didnt-have-the-strength

    Andre Branch http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1262880/andre-branch

    Nick Watkins http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/historical/423242

    Mason Cloy http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/draft-2012/players/70258.html

    Ricky Sapp http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/story/2010-02-23/prospect-profile-ricky-sapp-olb-clemson

    • Interesting … but I think a lot of this is up to the player’s own want to and work ethic.

      I think Spiller had very good playing strength for his size. Da’Quan Bowers tossed people around like rag dolls as a junior when he decided to commit himself to nutrition and the weight room. We’ve seen Boyd improve his fitness and strength level. 29 carries against LSU? Crazy.

      Again, I’m not sure what Batson is as a S & C. But it just seems like an unusual scapegoat.

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