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No. 16 Clemson, QB seek to keep offense humming

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 29, 2014 at 2:54 am •  Published: August 29, 2014
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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris have repeatedly said that the 16th-ranked Tigers' attack would not slow down even with new faces in control.

The first chance to prove that comes Saturday at No. 12 Georgia.

Morris has spent a lot time since finishing a second straight 11-2 season pounding his new guys about how few believe they can achieve without record-setting quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins. Cole Stoudt, Boyd's backup the past three years, has taken it all in and taken it to heart.

Stoudt and his offensive teammates are ready to show they can play a little football, too.

"They came into fall camp with different edge because nobody was talking about the guys that are here," he said.

Stoudt said he's not cocky, just calm and confident for his first-ever start. The son of former NFL passer Cliff Stoudt, the senior has prepared for this moment since he first came to campus and began his three seasons on the bench behind Boyd.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney wouldn't mind some evidence of nerves in his new quarterback instead of the steady demeanor he's carried in all situations. Stoudt showed that with the Tigers his freshman season in 2011 after Boyd got hit hard against Boston College and had to come out in the third quarter with the game still in doubt.

"We're in a tough ballgame here. We've got a ways to go," Swinney recalled this week. "He just said all right, let's go. But that's Cole. That's just his demeanor."

Stoudt didn't have much more significant playing time after that because of the durable Boyd. And when Boyd chose to return for his senior season last fall instead of leaving early for the NFL, Stoudt just buckled up his chin strap and worked hard on perfecting the offense.

In fact, Swinney said the Tigers are in better shape with this transition than before 2011 when an untested Boyd took over under center for Colorado Rockies prospect Kyle Parker.

"It's different in that Cole is very talented but he's got more experience to draw upon than what people give him credit for," the coach said.

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