We’ve spent considerable time in this space documenting the success and failures of Clemson in short yardage situations over the years. From the Mad Scientist to Billy Napier and through the first year of Chad Morris the Tigers struggled when they needed a yard.
Some moron even suggested that short yardage was Morris’ kryptonite back in the summer. This moron stands corrected.
As documented below, Clemson was simply outstanding in short yardage situations in 2012. In 12 games, over 35 chances only 5 times did the Tigers fail on third or 4th and 1 (including goal to go situations).
Against good defenses (Florida State, South Carolina) and bad (Duke, Wake Forest and N.C. State) the Tigers were successful in short yardage situations.
In 9 games Clemson fail didn’t fail in these situations even once. They failed twice in two games and won those (Virginia Tech and Boston College). They failed once against Maryland and won comfortably. The difference? Tajh Boyd carrying the ball. Boyd was successful on 15 of 16 rushes in short yardage situations (93.8%). Boyd was successful on all 5 attempts in similar situations last season, but in 2012 Boyd has 3 times as many attempts in 2 less games. Short Yardage Summary –
Somewhere along the line Morris decided to trust Boyd with the ball more in short yardage situations and Clemson has been rewarded with significant improvement in an area that has been a multiple year sore spot with Clemson fans that created questions on everything from training tables to strength and conditioning coaches.
As the video below shows, Boyd has been lethel on 3rd in short. Clemson led Maryland 14-0 near the end of the first quarter when Boyd picks up a first down after being hit at the line and bouncing off a tackler. On the very next play, Boyd fires a 28 yard scoring pass to Nuk Hopkins.
A year does not a trend make, especially when recent failure stretches over multiple seasons, but it is a welcomed step in the right direction.