SUNSET, S.C. — Clemson’s not slowing down, even without the offensive stars that made them go in receiver Sammy Watkins and quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday his team won’t ease up on the attack that averaged better than 40 points and 500 yards for a second straight. Of course, he won’t have Watkins and Boyd, the high-performance duo who took center stage as Clemson went 32-8 and won the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference championship during their three seasons as starters.
Watkins left school a season early and was picked No. 4 overall by the Buffalo Bills while Boyd was taken in the sixth round by the New York Jets this past May — opening up two very high-profile spots on last year’s eighth-ranked Tigers.
For those returning, the message is clear, says offensive coordinator Chad Morris: “To prove that we weren’t a two-man show.”
That question should linger into the season opener at Georgia on Aug. 30.
Cole Stoudt, a senior and son of NFL passer Cliff Stoudt, won the quarterback job in the spring, helped by both an injury to rising freshman DeShaun Watson and the spring game sideline meltdown and subsequent dismissal of Chad Kelly.
Swinney said Watson, who set Georgia state high school records with 17,134 yards and 218 touchdowns, is healthy and pushing for playing time. Swinney and Morris say they knew since Watson’s first practice with the Tigers he would get playing time, just when and how much are the questions.
Morris is high on Stoudt, who performed ably in mop up duty and the few times Boyd came out with injuries.
“Cole, we’re excited about you,” Morris said. “Now it’s time to go out and win some ballgames.”
Swinney recalls the last time he faced this situation after Kyle Parker left to play Major League Baseball after the 2010 season and he was left with untested redshirt sophomore Boyd and freshman Stoudt as the main backup.