MIAMI — o o o o o
Boyd, too, is eager for the competition against the team that he almost signed with.
“When I was watching the bowl-selection show on ESPN, I thought it was kind of ironic that we were playing West Virginia,” he admitted. “It is an intriguing matchup, and I am excited to be playing those guys. It was funny. I was wearing a WVU hat the day after the game was picked, and guys were getting on me. I told them it goes way back, but it was one of those deals. But it has been a fun week and we are excited to be here.”
Everything, apparently, has worked out for the best.
“I think things really fell into place with (Geno Smith and me). At first I didn’t know how things would turn out, but I have had success at Clemson and (Smith) has had success over there. I think things could not have turned out better in regards to our situations. He is a very good quarterback as well, and both of us have to perform in this game, and I am excited about that.”
All you have to do is look at the numbers to understand that.
Boyd was a redshirt in 2009 and was a backup last year before Chad Morris came out of Tulsa as offensive coordinator to revise the offense. Under Morris, Boyd completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,578 yards, 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Smith was first-team all-Big East and broke a list of single-game and single-season passing records. He completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,978 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Bailey set the school record for receiving yards with 1,197.
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Boyd, of course, is not from Florida, but he can play, and Smith enjoys watching him play, uses it to help himself get better.
“Tajh is a really good quarterback. I watched him play three or four games on TV,” Smith said. “I want to be better than all those guys. I watch them and try to elevate my own game. I steal things from everyone. I try to learn as many tips as I can because you are never as good as you can be.”
And Smith should be able to learn from Boyd, just as Boyd should be able to learn from Smith.
“We’re similar players,” Smith explained. “Not in size. He’s shorter but a lot heavier. He’s mobile, has a strong arm, can make every throw, is decisive in his reads and is very smart. I think I have a lot of those same characteristics.
“You can lay out the pros and cons any way you want, but we’re similar.”
Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s head coach, knows something about quarterbacks, and he has now seen a lot of both of them.
He thinks a comparison between Boyd and South Florida’s B.J. Daniels might be a better comparison as far as styles go, Boyd having more of an athletic style than pure thrower.
“B.J. Daniels throws the ball pretty well. He is a little reckless with the ball where Boyd is not as reckless. He does a better job of taking care of the football. I’d say Boyd has some guys around him that are difference makers. B.J. didn’t have as many guys around him that can make a difference,” Holgorsen said.
As for Smith and Boyd, Holgorsen sees it this way:
“Two tremendous players that have the ability to keep a play alive,” he said.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @bhertzel.