If you didn’t know any better, you might think Kelly Bryant had been Clemson’s starting quarterback the last three years. The junior came out for Clemson’s opening practice on Thursday afternoon high-fiving his teammates, dancing and just being jovial.
“I just saw that confidence and demeanor about him,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said after practice.
Despite being in one of the country’s best quarterback battles, Bryant was not treating the competition between himself, Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson like it was something to be stressed about.
“I’m embracing it,” he said. “We take it every day and try to learn from it. Also, the guys in the room, we are all pushing each other to be the guy so that is good healthy competition in the room.
“We are competing and we all want the job so it is helping everybody in the room and it is helping me as well.”
It’s helped Bryant come out confident. The 6-foot-3, 222-pound quarterback had a little “giddy up” in his step and just his aura was different.
“It just helps me so much more when I have that confidence because I’m just being myself,” Bryant said. “Also, when the guys see I have that confidence in myself, they can rally around that as well.”
Bryant understands Thursday was the first day of practice and by no means does he feel like he has won the job. However, he is practicing and preparing like he is the starter because he knows that’s going to make his teammates better.
“I still have to go about my way and handle things in a professional manner and lead the team in a professional manner,” he said.
Bryant, along with a few other players, stayed back and continued to work out after the team finished up summer workouts last week. The former Wren High School standout said staying in Clemson was a way for him to get away because it allowed him to focus a little more on what he had to do in order to win the job.
“We just wanted to get everything (together), dot the I’s and cross the T’s and all of that,” he said.
And on the first day it showed.
“The ball was coming out of his hand and it was where it needed to be, and the decisions looked like they were the right decisions,” Elliott said. “His confidence was there. I saw him pull it a couple of times, so I am anxious to see on the tape and validate what I thought I saw from the sideline.”
Have you ordered the 2017 Clemson season preview ‘Best is the Standard’ from the staff that covers Clemson football 365 days a year? Order yours today to make sure you get a copy!