SUNSET, S.C. — One of the biggest questions surrounding the Clemson football team heading into last season was simple: Can Deshaun Watson stay healthy?
On Tuesday at Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s annual media golf outing at The Reserve on Lake Keowee, the aforementioned question was absent following a season in which Watson remained on the field and led the Tigers to an appearance in the College Football Playoff championship game.
So today, the talk about Watson was not whether he can stay healthy. Instead, it was about how he is feeling as good as ever.
Streeter said Watson has gained about 10 pounds since the title game and is up to an ideal weight of about 215.
“He’s gained some really good weight,” Streeter said. “He keeps coming back to me and saying, ‘Coach, I feel great.’ His legs are getting thicker, he’s stronger in his lower body and he feels faster. He looked faster in the spring than he did in the fall even with this weight gain.
“So, that’s been big for him and his confidence. It’s exciting. If he can maintain 215, I’ll be very happy, and I know he will, too.”
Behind Watson, the backup quarterback situation is being sorted out, and Streeter discussed his plan for dividing the reps between Watson, Nick Schuessler and Kelly Bryant during fall camp.
“No. 1, Deshaun is going to get his reps,” Streeter said. “It’s important for him to get in sync with his guys. They’ve been working out over the summer, so that’s all part of it as well, but he’ll definitely get his reps.
“Early on in camp, though, we don’t want to overdo it because it is a long season. But with the backup guys, Nick and Kelly are going to be equal as far as reps. They’re both doing a great job, and they’re both going to get the next amount of reps.”
As for Schuessler, Streeter said he is a veteran presence who brings a calm feeling to those around him.
“A lot of guys look up to him because he is an older kid and has been in the system for a while,” Streeter said. “So what Nick brings to the table is a calm presence because of how much he understands. He’s very cerebral, and it carries over to the field.”
For Bryant, on the other hand, Streeter said he has improved tremendously, and the focus for him is on understanding the “big picture.”
“He’s improved a lot,” Streeter said. “If you really sit back and think about it, he’s only been here for a year and a half. He’s got so much potential, and that’s what I’m excited about. He continues to get better.
“I think that this past spring, him learning the offense has helped him make decisions faster, and to be able to be more comfortable with making those full-speed decisions when he’s out on the field. That’s what he needs to continue to get better at.”
Whether Schusssler or Bryant backs up Watson likely won’t be determined until after the coaching staff sees them in action during fall camp.
“I’m going to have to juggle it around and make sure certain guys get certain reps here and there,” Streeter said, “but they’re all going to have their opportunity.”