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Tigers begin process of replacing Watson

While Deshaun Watson is participating in the biggest job interview of his life on Wednesday, his former quarterbacks coach will be begin the process of finding his replacement.

Watson of course will be participating in the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins on Wednesday in Indianapolis, Ind., while Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter and the Tigers begin spring practice on the same day.

For Streeter, it will be the first time he gets to see Kelly Bryant and Zerrick Cooper take significant snaps in practice, while it will also be the first time he gets to work with former five-star quarterback Hunter Johnson, who enrolled in school in January so he could compete for Clemson’s starting job.

“I’m just so excited to go into this situation to help mold them,” Streeter said. “I’m excited because there is an unknown there. The unknown is who is going to be the starter come the start of the 2017 season.”

Bryant will begin the spring taking snaps with the first team offense, but Streeter said every quarterback will get an opportunity to prove himself, including redshirt sophomore Tucker Israel, who heads into the spring as the third-string quarterback.

“Tucker Israel is another one that has been here the same amount of time as Kelly Bryant, and he is going to have an opportunity this spring,” Streeter said. “Obviously, we have some young ones. I have Zerrick Cooper, who redshirted this year. He has a ton of talent. He did not get a whole lot of reps because of who we already had here, but he had a lot of opportunities to be in my meeting room and learn the offense and work in the virtual reality room.

“He did a great job of improving his knowledge and understanding football and understanding our offense.”

As for Johnson, Streeter says he will get plenty of reps this spring.

“He is going to be in the same boat as those other guys,” the Clemson quarterbacks coach said. “He will get plenty of reps and we will see how fast he can retain things and learn the offense.”

The Clemson offense, which is known as a power-spread offense, is different than Johnson’s skill set. Johnson is considered more of a pro-style quarterback than a spread quarterback.

But none of that matters to Streeter. Johnson is a football ball player and a darn good one according to the Clemson coach.

“He has a great demeanor,” Streeter said. “He has an opportunity to be very, very successful here. He has a great head on his shoulder and is very talented.”

 

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