Because he plays quarterback, expectations on Kelly Bryant are higher than anyone else on second-ranked Clemson’s football team. That’s just the nature of the beast.
However, in reality, Bryant is no different than any of his other teammates … he has his good moments and his bad moments. After passing for 316 yards and a touchdown in a blowout win at No. 17 Louisville on Sept. 16, Bryant came back home and threw for just 140 yards and two interceptions in a win over Boston College.
“Guys have had good moments and then they have had some plays they need to get corrected,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “Overall, through four games, we are very pleased with what he has done. He is playing with a lot of confidence and has executed a lot of really good things.”
Boston College confused Bryant early on with its coverages, showing the Tigers a different look than what they saw on film prior to the game. It caused Bryant to hesitate and to miss on some throws. But he ultimately adjust to what the Eagles were doing and he finished the game strong, making some critical third-down throws late in the third quarter and into the fourth that allowed Clemson to pull away down the stretch.
“As he comes in today and watches the video with Coach (Brandon) Streeter, he is going to see some situations where he can let the ball go and get the ball out of his hands and maybe make a better decision here or there,” Scott said. “That is what coaching is all about and that is what improving is all about.”
Though Bryant has some critics, his productivity for a quarterback with just four starts under his belt has been pretty good. Granted, he has thrown just two touchdown passes, but he is tied for third in the country with seven rushing touchdowns. That ranks second in the ACC and is three more than Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
Bryant also ranks second on the team with 268 rushing yards and is averaging 4.1 yards per carry, which is impressive considering he has been sacked 10 times this season.
“I think the exciting thing for us is to know he has played pretty well, but he is nowhere close to being his best, yet,” Scott said. “So that is really exciting as a coach knowing he still has room for improvement. Whenever he gets there, he is going to be really, really special and I think he is moving in that direction.”
As far as passing goes, Bryant has completed 67.9 percent of his 109 passes for 813 yards. Yes, he has thrown three interceptions, but just one of those has been deemed his fault. He has an efficiency rating of 135.72.
“There is no doubt he had some situations Saturday, early on, where he had some different looks than maybe he expected in the secondary where he did not want to force some things,” Scott said. “But there were also some situations where he needs to trust it, let the ball go and let the receivers go work for him. But he is only going to improve and get better each week.”