Better Know Your Opponent: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd

Streeter Lecka

What can the Eagles do to stop one of the most dangerous dual threat QB's in the nation?

Looking at the 2013 schedule there is no quarterback that should scare BC fans more than Clemson signal caller Tahj Boyd. The senior QB has been a killer for Boston College, putting up 320 yards and two touchdowns in 2011 (one on the ground), and over 400 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. Boyd is one of the projected Heisman favorites going into 2013, but what makes him so special?

First off, it's his mobility and the threat of the run.The senior Heisman candidate finished last season passing for 3,868 yards, and 510 yards on the ground, and combining for a total of 45 touchdowns. Nothing was more impressive than Boyd's Chik Fil-A Bowl against a very potent LSU defense where he threw for 320 yards, with a 72% completion rate, and two touchdowns en route to a miraculous Clemson victory.

Boyd is by no means the fastest mobile quarterback in the NCAA, but he is certainly effective. If you just look at his raw stats, the numbers would be deceiving, as he averaged only 2.86 yards a carry. Look deeper at Boyd though, and you get to see what really makes him dangerous. Just on the ground alone he accounted for 50 first downs in 2013, and ran the ball over 10+ yards 27 times. That is at least 3-5 times a game you can count on Tajh Boyd to do something to either extend a drive, or prevent a punt. That is impressive.

Secondly, Boyd is a nightmare because of his size. Going into his sophomore year there was concern about his weight, but Boyd silenced those critics by showing off a game ready frame his junior year. While NFL scouts may be critical of his height (he is only 6'0), he is in great shape and is big for his size. He is incredibly tough to tackle in the open field, and can truck even the biggest defenders. This matchup caused BC fits in the past, because the Eagles were such poor tacklers, and this is an aspect that Don Brown is going to need to seriously work on with his defense before the Clemson matchup.

Boyd is also strong in terms of some of his intangible traits such as poise, leadership and mental toughness. He is an extremely effective QB's in terms of running the read option with skill, he can read defenses very well, and make correct reads thus making the run game even more effective. Secondly, and a characteristic that I like, is that Boyd keeps his eyes downfield when making plays. So often dual threat quarterbacks lose the down field vision when they scramble, and miss wide open targets. Boyd, rarely does that, instead he may scramble, causing cornerbacks and linebackers to break towards him, leaving wide receivers open and causing even bigger plays. That ability is huge, something that is hard to teach and a reason why he is so effective.

Finally, Boyd's arm is just another strength in his very strong game. If you look at his numbers, Clemson lead the league in passing plays that went over 25+ yards, you may believe Boyd chucks a lot of balls deep down field. While he certainly does that, he also did an excellent job running short bubble screens that sprung open his talented receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Boyd is also reasonably accurate (13 interceptions) and 67.1% passing percentage.

As you can see, and BC fans saw it last year live, Tajh Boyd could be the best player the Eagles see this season. He is dynamic, and can beat you in so many different ways. Frank Spaziani clearly had no idea on how to stop him, which led to the mind blowing 600+ yards Clemson put up against BC last year. Don Brown brings a whole other scheme with him, with more pressure. It's going to be up to him to mix up the blitzing, throwing different looks at Boyd to hopefully rattle him and make him uncomfortable. Otherwise it could be a very long afternoon in Death Valley for Boston College.

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