Who has to step up after “big loss” of Charone Peake?

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com
@Aaron_Brenner | Tiger Tracks on Facebook

CLEMSON — Well, that dateline’s a little misleading. We had a meeting of the minds Wednesday at the Post and Courier, some prep work for the rest of the season. Always nice to make a trip to the mothership, in such a lovely city…

The day, however, was not as pleasant for WR Charone Peake, who suffered a season-ending knee injury when he tore his ACL in Tuesday evening’s practice. It was a non-contact play; just an unfortunate occurrence during the first NC State prep session.

Peake was doing a nice job in the early goings in that Jaron Brown role; catching some intermediate routes and running the occasional deep pattern, while showing nice footwork and hands on his 3-yard touchdown catch from Cole Stoudt against S.C. State.

“This is a big loss. Charone was having a great year and was going to have a great year,” head coach Dabo Swinney said in a release. “We are thin at receiver with just six scholarship players now. We like to carry 10 at that position. We have good players, but we don’t have a lot of bodies.”

So what now for the Tigers? The issue is, they like running lots of multiple sets, which requires depth at the position. Like Swinney said, the talent is more plentiful than the depth, and that’s going to put offensive coordinator Chad Morris and wide receivers coach/whiz kid Jeff Scott to the test. Luckily, No. 3-ranked Clemson’s got a full week, not two or three days, to adjust the gameplan against the Wolf Pack.

You already know about Sammy Watkins, and probably about Martavis Bryant. Here’s who else you need to get acquainted with to fill Brown’s ‘field’ role at receiver (career stats):

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Tajh Boyd boasts ‘I got this’ factor under Chad Morris

Tajh Boyd 10

BY AARON BRENNER | abrenner@postandcourier.com

CLEMSON — There’s some friendly dispute over the exact moment Tajh Boyd and Chad Morris became the dynamic duo envied and admired by football offenses across the country.

“I think it was pretty obvious that first fall, that stretch when it seemed like Championship Road there,” said Clemson wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, referring to the 8-0 start in 2011, Boyd’s first year as starting quarterback and Morris’ first year as offensive coordinator. “They just kind of clicked. Once they started having success, all the players believed in it.”

VIDEO: Aaron Brenner and Andrew Miller break down Clemson football’s season outlook

“Maybe Auburn (to open) last year,” said tight ends coach Danny Pearman. “I think about games where they clicked in a positive way and say, ‘Hey, this kid’s got a good feel for what he can do and what Chad’s calling.’ ”

Morris thinks it took even longer than that: the 2012 Chick-fil-A Bowl.

“I just think that LSU game really demonstrated: (Boyd) said, ‘OK, I got this. I got this figured out. I can do this,’ Morris said. “(Boyd) knew he could do it, but it all just came into shape where, it’s on me now. And you saw it.”

When it’s suggested to Boyd that he didn’t truly shine as Morris’ prime pupil until his 27th college start, Boyd respectfully begs to differ.

“I’ve been pretty confident in myself for a while now,” Boyd said, smiling.

On some level, Boyd always knew this connection with Morris — which powered the 2012 Tigers’ offense to 101 school records — was destined to click.

He made himself believe in Morris before Morris ever put on a Clemson visor. And now the pair looks to thrill Clemson fans for a third straight year, when it looked all along it might have only been two.

Read the rest of Tajh Boyd’s journey with Chad Morris on The Post and Courier website