By Will Vandervort.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said during the ACC Coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday that quarterback Deshaun Watson looked better on Tuesday when he saw him than he did Monday.
Of course the Tigers’ freshman will not play on Saturday when they host Georgia State in Death Valley. Watson sprained his LCL in last week’s loss at Georgia Tech.
“I really think he is going to get better each day,” Swinney said. “I don’t see any way that he is playing this weekend then we will reevaluate for next week.”
Swinney says he has no idea when Watson will be able to get back to work in practice.
“That depends on the doctors,” the Clemson coach said. “When he can go out, plant and cut like he needs to run our system and throw the football. We will see, but I don’t know. Hopefully soon, but I don’t know that.”
Watson had just got back from a broken finger in his right hand when he went down with an injury to his left leg in the first quarter at Georgia Tech. Swinney said Watson was going to score a touchdown on the play in which his knee gave way after making a cut at the Tech 14.
Watson had already led the 22nd-ranked Tigers to a 3-0 lead and was about to make the score 10-0 with less than three minutes left in the opening quarter. The freshman already ran for 40 yards and threw for 27 prior to going down.
Clemson fell apart after that offensively. Three plays later, backup quarterback Cole Stoudt threw an interception that was returned 85 yards for a touchdown. After getting 83 yards on offense on the three drives Watson was in the game, the Tigers finished with 107 the rest of the afternoon against what was the ACC’s next to last defense in terms of total yards allowed.
“We played really poor from an execution standpoint,” Swinney said. “We came out of the gates really flying and Deshaun was going to score on the play that he got hurt on. We just did not recover after that.
“We were playing really well to start the game and we just went south.”
Swinney also gave an idea as to why Stoudt lost his confidence. The senior had his worst game in his career as he completed just 3 of 11 passes for 19 yards. Three passes were intercepted, while two were returned for touchdowns and another set up a field goal.
Georgia Tech scored 15 of its 28 points off those three turnovers.
“It starts with his confidence and just getting that back,” Swinney said. “I think last week with Deshaun coming back, for whatever the reason, (Stoudt) wasn’t as confident as I have seen him. He had a bad day for sure and we had some other guys that did not play particularly well, either.
“But we just have to get back to playing at a high level and playing with great energy. Make sure from a coaching standpoint we do things that give us a great chance to be successful and that is it.”
Swinney also updated the status of left guard David Beasley. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman suffered a patellar tendon inflammation in the Georgia Tech game.
“Beasley looks good. Beasley looks like he has a good chance to play this week,” Swinney said. “How much? I don’t know right now, but he has a good shot to be able to play.”