No matter who wins the quarterback battle, Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said on Friday 80 percent of the offense will stay the same.
It was an interesting detail considering the different elements Kelly Bryant, Tucker Israel, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson all bring to the table. Bryant is the more athletic of the bunch, while Israel is perhaps the more accurate passer in the group. Cooper has the strongest arm and the best instincts of the quarterbacks, while Johnson is athletic and the most accurate on the run.
“With all four of those guys, we can be who we are,” Scott said. “Eighty percent of the offense will stay the same no matter who the quarterback is. Then maybe there is twenty percent as you go that you can mix around a little bit.
“Some of it has to do with who you are playing, but some of it we are going to play to the skill set that we have.”
In the past, Clemson has played well to its personnel. Since Chad Morris brought the Tigers’ power-spread offense to Clemson in 2011, the Tigers have ranked among the best in the country in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense.
Four times in the last six years, Clemson finished the season ranked inside the top 15 in both scoring and total offense.
Of course the quarterback play had a lot to do with that. In the four years Clemson was ranked inside the top 15 Tajh Boyd and Deshaun Watson were the starting quarterbacks for the entire season. First Morris with Boyd, and then Scott and Tony Elliott with Watson, played up to the strengths of their quarterbacks to maximize the efficiency of their offenses.
Now Scott and Elliott are trying to do the same with the four guys they have battling it out to be the Tigers’ new starting quarterback.
“There is no doubt Hunter is one of the more athletic of those guys in the group. Really, all of those guys,” Scott said. “Zerrick has really good instincts. Deshaun was a really good runner, but it was not because he was a 4.4 guy, it was because he had great instincts. He knew how to follow blocks. He knew the timing of when to leave the pocket and all of those types of things. That’s one thing that I have been able to see out of Zerrick.”
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