CLEMSON -- There is a significant first for Clemson in Dabo Swinney's third spring as head coach: No sharing of first-team quarterback duties.
In the spring of 2009, a quarterback competition between Willy Korn and Kyle Parker split first-team snaps and dragged on into the middle of August camp. Last season it was baseball taking Parker away from a significant portion of spring practice and summer workouts.
In 2011 at Clemson, there will be cohesion at quarterback from March to September. There are no quarterback battles, no two-sport athletes. Swinney says Tajh Boyd "is the guy."
"It would be very helpful to have a solidified guy that you go into the summer with," Swinney said. "Then you get that chemistry, and I think that will be the case here. I'm really confident in Tajh and what he has done."
After spending two years behind Parker, Boyd is committed to solidifying the starting job and being Clemson's quarterback for the next three seasons.
The sophomore said he studied the new playbook so intensely he often had trouble sleeping with play calls spinning through his mind this offseason.
Boyd also spent plenty of time watching film of new offensive coordinator Chad Morris' Tulsa teams.
But Boyd also shed 20 pounds to run Clemson's new uptempo offense. Boyd gave up bread, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers.
"If this is how the new (uptempo) offense is going to be, with your tongue dragging on the ground, I thought I have to get in the best shape I can," Boyd said.
Swinney said Boyd has done "all the right things" this offseason, including peppering Morris with questions upon the new coordinator's arrival on campus. Swinney likes Boyd's leadership and charisma; even the defensive players like Boyd.
"His experience last year shows," Swinney said. "He's a worker and he has put his time in. He's one of the leaders on the team and has the respect of his teammates."
Boyd passed the staff's first benchmark in Friday and Monday's spring practices by showing a leadership presence and grasp of offensive concepts.
"I think he has a chance to be really good," Morris said. "He has a great arm, he has a great release. We are going to get his footwork where I want it. I'm just a technique freak, that's just me. It'll get there."
Morris said he wants Boyd to be pushed this spring and summer. He wants competition at the quarterback position, though Swinney maintains Boyd will earn nearly all the first-team reps.
"I'm a firm believer in competition," Morris said.
Still, it's hard to imagine Boyd losing the quarterback job this season. His competition is a pair of true freshmen in Cole Stoudt and Tony McNeal.
"You'll have competition regardless of who is here," Boyd said. "The main thing is competing against myself, doing the best I can do."
It will be interesting to see what Boyd's best is this season. In his first extended playing time, Boyd led Clemson to two late touchdowns in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He left the game with a confidence knowing if the job was not quite his, it was his to lose.
"I felt like I was holding position till (Parker) got back," Boyd said of last spring. "Now you feel like you are more responsible. You have more confidence. You have a swagger."
Follow Travis Sawchik on Twitter @travis_sawchik.
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