There was a stark contrast between the performances of Clemson’s offense and its defense in the team’s second full scrimmage of fall camp, which was held on Saturday in Death Valley.
First-team quarterback Kelly Bryant and the offense rolled throughout the day, continually making big plays no matter the personnel. The defense, meanwhile, seemed to not really show up.
“Today, the offense definitely won the day,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said afterward. “Really kind of pushed them around all day I thought. Won all the two-minute drills. Made a bunch of big plays. Didn’t really matter who was at quarterback or running back or receiver. … They had great rhythm all day, throwing and catching.”
Clemson’s offense appears to be hitting its stride down the stretch of fall camp.
Bryant, who was recently given a vote of confidence by Swinney as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, has been a consistent orchestrator of the offense and continues to gain confidence.
“I feel like I did good,” Bryant said of his performance in the scrimmage. “Maybe one or two bad decisions, but overall, I feel like I had a good day. The offense had good rhythm, good tempo, made some plays. I got the ball out to the receivers and feel like I made a couple plays with my legs, as well. I feel like it was a good day overall for the offense, not just for the ones, but everybody out there.”
Following Clemson’s practice on Wednesday, Swinney said that unless Bryant “totally goes crazy,” he will be Clemson’s starting quarterback when the Tigers begin their season against Kent State on Sept. 2.
Bryant appreciates the backing from his head coach, but knows nothing is set in stone with the season opener still two weeks away. Even then, with redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and true freshman Hunter Johnson behind him, Bryant knows he will have to continue to perform at a high level to keep the job.
”That’s confidence, but I feel like my confidence was there all camp,” Bryant said of Swinney’s comments. “That’s something I’ve been telling myself – OK, I’m the starter. Every day I wake up and go out there and practice, I’m the starter, so I’m going to try to perform like I’m the starter and do everything that’s asked of me and more. So yeah, that’s good coming from Coach Dabo, but I’m still going to have that mindset that I’m the starter and I know I have to perform because this game is all about performance.”
Clemson’s offense has been consistently productive over the past few days of fall camp and appears to be clicking with Bryant at the helm.
The junior from Calhoun Falls, S.C., hopes to keep it that way as the regular season draws closer.
“Everybody is just buying in. We really can be special,” Bryant said. “Just taking it one day at a time and not trying to do too much. Everybody is doing their job and that rhythm’s coming along, so we’re just trying to keep building on it.”
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