No looking back for Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd
CLEMSON — The Clemson staff calls it the windshield theory.
Who: No. 14 Clemson (0-0) vs. Auburn (0-0)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Line: Clemson by 3 1/2
Their philosophy goes like this: The past is important, but what is more critical is the road ahead, which is why a windshield is larger than a rear-view mirror.
Clemson does not want quarterback Tajh Boyd looking in the rear-view mirror too often, a habit that has derailed him in the past.
As No. 14 Clemson begins its season at 7 p.m. today against Auburn in the Georgia Dome (ESPN), as Boyd begins his second full year as a starter, the staff is hoping Boyd will be better at moving on after mistakes. Clemson hopes its perfectionist quarterback will no longer let one poor decision or play lead to another.
Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris believes Boyd is better equipped to respond to adversity, and it is adversity Boyd will likely face tonight as Clemson’s inexperienced offensive line matches up with a talented Auburn defensive front.
“We have placed a lot of pressure on him this spring and summer to see how he responds to make sure he knows it is always about the next play,” Morris said. “It’s that windshield theory. It’s more important to see where you are going than where you came from.”
Boyd is a perfectionist, a trait that has been both a positive and a negative in his development.
He has made considerable growth as a quarterback, from the redshirt freshman who was wide-eyed at the prospect of having to play as a freshman at Auburn in 2010 when Kyle Parker injured his ribs (Parker stayed in the game), to the sophomore who was on Heisman lists midway through last season.
But mistakes have always bothered Boyd. He has had a difficult time of erasing errant throws from his mind and moving on to the next play.
“As a quarterback, you have to keep an even keel,” Boyd said. “That’s one of the areas I feel like I’ve grown from last season. Maybe I have a bad play, a misread or throw a pick, the thing is I can’t damage the team, I can’t let one bad play lead to another and another and another.”
Boyd has also worked on becoming a better game manager, refraining from forcing passes into coverage, taking what a defense allows. Though Boyd has thrown a number of interceptions in summer scrimmages, the staff said those numbers are misleading because many of the passes came in situational work.
“I think Tajh has prepared himself for this,” Morris said. “I like the ownership he has taken in this team as a leader. He’s a veteran player now. He has 14 games underneath him, two springs, two fall camps. I expect him to be that veteran guy that manages things, keeps cool, calm and collected. What excites me is to see him in a whole new element to see how he is going to respond.”