Capitals

Clemson OC, QB share growing success

Clemson OC, QB share growing success

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Two years ago, newly hired Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris wasn't sure what to make of talkative, playful and untested quarterback Tajh Boyd.

What Morris found was a kindred spirit in Boyd, eager to learn and ready to trigger an attack that's breaking records and passing milestones every time it takes the field.

``Tajh is a guy who's having fun,'' Morris said.

Both Morris and Boyd appear at the top of their games for the 10th-ranked Tigers (8-1, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) who face Maryland (4-5, 2-3) on Saturday.

Morris' offense put up 718 yards last week in a victory at Duke, the second highest total in program history and sixth time its surpassed 500 yards this season. Boyd leads the ACC with 2,680 yards and 25 TDs.

Coordinator and quarterback clicked almost from the start, Morris remembered, although it took a while for Boyd to fully understand the commitment to detail necessary to succeed.

Boyd and the Tigers were one of college football's biggest surprises in 2011, Morris' high-flying offense helping the team a surprising 8-0 start. Then came the disastrous 1-3 finish where Boyd's productivity plummeted and his decision making fell apart.

He went from a Heisman Trophy hopeful with 24 TDs and three interceptions the first eight games to throwing seven interceptions and only four touchdowns down the stretch.

The Tigers recovered to win the ACC championship before they were humiliated in the Orange Bowl by West Virginia, surrendering a bowl record for points allowed in a 70-33 loss.

While the focus in that debacle was the Clemson's defense, Boyd threw of pair of interceptions as he struggled to keep pace with the Mountaineers' offense.

Morris knew if Clemson were to pick up its offensive pace, Boyd had to take another big step forward.

The two spent time this offseason working on positioning and footwork. Boyd put time in the weight room, losing about 15 pounds to be more mobile when asked to run.

``Running the ball is one of those things where you have to gain confidence,'' Boyd said. ``If you don't grow up running, you don't feel as comfortable in it. Me and my dad used to talk about it all the time.''

Boyd has already rushed for 350 yards through nine games after getting 218 a year ago.

``I feel faster,'' Boyd said with his trademark smile.

Morris likes the dual threat Boyd's become, although he's not buying into his junior standout's speed. ``He said he was fast. I said, `I don't know about that, but at times you look fast,''' Morris said.

The two also spend plenty of time discussing the pressures of the positions. As Clemson's starting quarterback, Boyd is the most high-profile - and highly scrutinized - athlete on a campus crazy about football.

``It's a big deal to be quarterback for the Clemson Tigers,'' Morris said. ``And with that comes pressure.''

Morris knows about pressure. He's the highest paid assistant in the game at $1.3 million a year and shared with Boyd his worries over calling the perfect offensive game. Boyd acknowledged how difficult it is to strive for mistake-free football with fans' judging you on a play-by-play basis.

The two agreed the sport should be well-played, but fun.

``Sometimes we all feel like we have to be perfect and we don't,'' Morris said. ``Really talked to him about that.''

The pair of also talked about managing the game with the right choices. So far, Morris likes what's he's seen.

``He's the leader of this football team and he's playing like it,'' Morris said.

The pair have spent plenty of time talking about football, life, anything and everything to develop the necessary bond that makes offense go. ``We've got to think so much alike,'' Morris said.

Morris also acts as Boyd's spokesman when things go wrong. When teammates and other coaches want to console or give guidance, Morris might shoo them away so Boyd can have some space. ``You say, `Hey, leave him alone. He'll figure it out,''' Morris said. ``He's done a great job figuring out how to fix things.''

Boyd passed for four touchdowns in Clemson's 56-45 comeback victory at Maryland last year. Terps coach Randy Edsall believes Boyd is much stronger and polished with a year's more experience.

``Boyd is playing extremely well, just throwing the deep ball well and making good decisions,'' Edsall said.

Both Boyd and Morris might have choices to make whenever Clemson's season ends. Boyd is eligible for the NFL draft while Morris' name is sure to be tagged to several head-coaching openings. Neither spends much time thinking about that now with Clemson going so well.

``We've just got to keep working and continue to grow,'' Boyd said.

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Capitals re-sign forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract

Capitals re-sign forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract

WASHINGTON — The Capitals bolstered their forward depth and its penalty kill by re-signing two-time Stanley Cup champion Carl Hagelin before he hit unrestricted free agency next month. 

Washington has officially re-signed forward Carl Hagelin to a four-year, $11 million contract extension, a move that goes a long way toward re-establishing a third line that had some openings entering the offseason. 

Hagelin, 30, was a pending unrestricted free agent. Washington acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings on Feb. 21 just four days before the NHL trade deadline. Hagelin played primarily on the third line – although injuries in the Stanley Cup playoffs pushed him onto the second line. 

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Hagelin had three goals and 11 assists in 20 regular-season games with the Capitals and became an instant staple on the penalty kill. His 47 minutes, six seconds on the PK in those 20 games were enough to rank sixth among all forwards on the team.

Traded twice last season, Hagelin had a total of five goals and 14 assists with the Capitals, Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins in 58 games. He had a sprained knee (medial collateral ligament) with Los Angeles that kept him out for 20 games.  

"[Hagelin] was a good fit,” Washington general manager Brian MacLellan said on April 26. “I thought he fit seamlessly from day one. Really liked him on the third line, the way we used him, we bumped him up obviously with the [T.J.] Oshie injury. Our PK got a lot better. Fits in well with his teammates. It's a really good fit for us, yes." 

The Penguins traded Hagelin to the Kings on Nov. 14. He was a key part of Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Stanley Cup winners in 2016 and 2017, which came at the expense of Washington in the playoffs each time. 

This was the last year of a four-year, $16 million deal that Hagelin signed with the Anaheim Ducks in 2015. He was always viewed as a likely trade chip for Los Angeles, which finished in last place in the Pacific Division and eventually flipped him to the Capitals. 

Even after the disappointing first-round Stanley Cup playoff loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, Hagelin said he was open to re-signing with the Capitals before he hit unrestricted free agency on July 1. His signing follows the trade of defenseman Matt Niskanen on Friday. The NHL Draft is this coming weekend in Vancouver with more moves expected.   

“I liked the fact that I got a good look from the coaches,” Hagelin said on April 26 of his time with the Capitals. “I got to play with good players, I got to play in key situations. I felt comfortable here.”

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Orioles welcome home military service member with surprise first pitch

Orioles welcome home military service member with surprise first pitch

The Orioles helped make one family's Father's Day a day that they will never forget. 

Specialist Addam Bostwick from Fort George G. Meade United States Army installation surprised his father, former Marine Stephen Bostwick, with a special ceremonial first pitch Sunday afternoon at Camden Yards.

Stephen, who is a four-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, was expecting an Orioles player to catch the first pitch, was shocked to see Addam, who had been deployed in Afghanistan for four months, surprised his father.

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