CLEMSON – Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd remembers Georgia Tech week of last season clearly.
Boyd remembers entering Atlanta undefeated, as the No.5 ranked team in the country. He remembered watching ESPN the day of the game and seeing pundits tout him as a Heisman candidate, comparing his stats to those of Cam Newton a year earlier.
And of course Boyd remembers the loss, his three interceptions, and returning home to Clemson to find his house egged.
“I think I learned a lot from it,” Boyd said. “That’s one of the reasons I don’t watch TV before games, maybe cartoons, I try not to get involved in (the hype).”
Boyd says Clemson will not overlook Georgia Tech, which is coming off back-to-back losses.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said his team’s rout of Ball State following the opening win over Auburn this season, and the win at Boston College following the loss at Florida State, are examples of a maturing team with a changing culture.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables has not defended a true option team since Oklahoma faced Air Force several years ago. Oklahoma won that game. But this is a different defense, one that has had trouble maintaining discipline – a flaw that can be exploited for big plays by Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense.
“(Tech) runs the lead option, the G option and the speed option,” Venables said, “there are so many variations and influences they make it incredibly difficult to play with discipline. That is the test.”
Venables said he will use cut-blocking in practice this week to simulate the Georgia Tech blocking scheme.
“If you don’t cut then you get mowed down on gameday because you are not ready for it,” Venables said. “That’s a chance (of injury) you gotta take, a risk-reward deal. Our guys need to feel it, need to experience it.”
The Clemson and Georgia Tech defenses have combined to allow 1.25 miles of offense the last two weeks – two kilometers for those of you on the metric system - that’s 2,200 yards of offense combined over that period.
He said it:
Venables on the defending the option: “Don’t eat the cheese. The cheese is dangerous. The cheese is a trap. There are a lot of guys eating the cheese.”
He said it II:
Dabo Swinney on Clemson’s hiring of sports nutritionist Lisa Chan, who will plan meals for the football team’s new training: “Eat to win. Sleep to win. Train to win. … I’m trying to develop complete program.”
He said it III:
Swinney on Clemson’s defense: “I just laugh when people insinuate we don’t have good players.”
Clemson has also hired a chef to work with the new sports nutritionist … Sammy Watkins “looked great” during Monday’s practice and is expected to play vs. Georgia Tech … Swinney said sophomore defensive end Corey Crawford is improving but “I wish he was a backup.”