CLEMSON – I haven’t done nearly enough of these. To the blog readers: please, please hit me with your input. You can reach me at any link above: e-mail, Twitter or Facebook.
1) Tajh Boyd is one part philosopher, one part optimist.
The guy knows how to work a room; both when it’s time to drop some wisdom, and when it’s time to express some confidence.
“Being so much involved in the offense and being here for a while, we have expectations of what the offense is supposed to look like,” Boyd said.
It’s not supposed to look like that out-of-sorts unit that went the 15-pieces-of-flair route against South Carolina State and waited until the second half to turn it on at North Carolina State, a team Clemson dropped 62 on last year.
“After a while, you start to kind of forget what it was like earlier in each year. Because the only recent memory you have is how the season ended,” Boyd said. “You forget that each year starts off a little bit rocky. That’s what I need to understand, that it does take time.”
The Martavis Bryant touchdown grabs didn’t only work on his confidence. It helped Boyd as well.
“We’re on the right path right now,” Boyd said. “Once we get going, once we click, it’s just like a freight train: there’s not going to be any stopping, there isn’t going to be any slowing down. We’re just going to keep rolling, so I’m excited to see when it hits.”
So, is Boyd excited about facing Wake Forest, the victims of some of Boyd’s school records when he and Sammy Watkins went off last year?
“It’s about time for me to hit a 400-yard game one of these days,” Boyd said. “We’ve got to get it rolling. This game, or the next game, it just has to happen.”
2) Usually, Brent Venables is no better than the fourth most-wanted man for Clemson interviews during the week: Boyd, head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris are always in high demand. Typically, the flavor of the week – be it Watkins, Spencer Shuey, Roderick McDowell, Chandler Catanzaro or someone else – is right up there, too.
But with the defense’s startling turnaround, there were 24 reporters scurrying to huddle around Venables at Tuesday’s press conference. Everyone wants to know how the Tigers’ defense has somehow wrested the power chip away from the offense.
During his 13-minute discourse, Venables addressed the need for safety depth, which means establishing some trusted reserves for Robert Smith and Travis Blanks.
He dropped this gem: “A guy is not going to look like a blind dog in a meat market at practice every day, and then all of a sudden show up and be Superman on gamedays.”
3) Boyd completed 24 of 37 passes in Raleigh. Swinney said, pretty emphatically, he should have gone 32 of 37, for a multitude of reasons.
“Missed a couple throws, had a couple drops, had a couple protection issues that would have been lay-ups,” Swinney said. “Just simple things like that, communication things that we’ve got to fix, that are easy plays. 24-of-37, we left some plays on the field that we need to convert, things that we control, and that’s what you’re always coaching.”
4) Kellen Jones, the backup linebacker who transferred from Oklahoma the same year Venables left Norman, is out for the year with a torn ACL.
“He’d had shown the ability to step in and make plays. It’s one less body, whereas we had three at one position, now we have two,” Venables said. “It hurts us in special teams as well. You just hate it for Kellen, because he’s very emotionally invested in the game, so it’s hard when it’s taken away.”
5) As part of the American Football Coaches Association’s “Coach to Cure MD” initiative, working to spread awareness about muscular dystrophy, Clemson’s coaches will wear patches during the Wake Forest game.
6) Shuey identified defensive tackle Grady Jarrett as the nastiest guy on the defense, which was interesting to media simply based on Jarrett’s easygoing demeanor during interviews.
Then again, Clemson’s defense has a bunch of those guys. Nice to the press, nasty to the opponents.
“It’s definitely a fine line. You have to respect people off the field, and (Clemson has) done a great job of recruiting players like that who are productive men in society, great in the classroom and respectful to adults,” Shuey said. “But you kind of have to turn it on once you get in the field; it’s a physical sport and you have to play that way.”
7) We finish out with one of the more interesting stats I’ve uncovered during the early part of this week, and Twitter followers ate this up:
In Da’Quan Bowers’ first 25 games at Clemson, he had four sacks. Vic Beasley has played 25 games at Clemson, and he has 13 sacks.
— Aaron Brenner (@Aaron_Brenner) September 24, 2013