Swinney says Johnson ‘is having a heck of a spring’
Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence continues to impress the coaching staff as Clemson wrapped up its fourth practice of the spring Monday.
Swinney said Lawrence, who enrolled in school in January so he could compete this spring, has demonstrated a good demeanor in practice and is picking up the offense well.
“He’s done great,” Swinney said.
Clemson tweaked its practice schedule a little bit, in particular its seven-on-seven drills, so each of the four quarterbacks—Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson, Chase Brice and Lawrence—could get more reps. That has given not only Lawrence, but Johnson and Brice an opportunity to show what they can do in front of the coaches.
“We are trying to get all four of those guys reps,” Swinney said. “That’s been really good. Right now, we have a lot of bodies. So we have been able to have enough guys at DB, and we are a little thin at corner, but enough DBs to rep four groups. Basically, that is what we are doing.
“Really the main purpose of that is to get these quarterbacks a ton of reps, so it has been good.”
And Lawrence is taking advantage of the extra reps.
“He has done a really nice job. He is very poised and obviously he is skilled, but he is a very poised guy too and so far he has really demonstrated a good demeanor and is picking things up well,” Swinney said. “It is a good group. It is a good group.”
Swinney also reported Johnson is light years from where he was this time last year. The Clemson coach says Johnson “is having a heck of a spring.”
“I felt like last year, obviously, you saw the skill, but the game was fast and he was processing a lot and had a lot to think about,” Swinney said. “He got better all year long. The game kind of slowed down for him. He is having a heck of a spring. He is off to a good start.”
Brice is off to a good start as well. Swinney says he soaks every rep up like a sponge and has “a swag to him” that really stands out in practice.
“Sometimes he might not look the prettiest, but he is incredibly affective,” Swinney said. “He has a big arm and can throw the ball from a lot of different launch points. He is just a winner. He has a great work ethic and a great belief in himself. He is just one of those natural leaders.”
Overall, Swinney has been pleased with all of his quarterbacks so far this spring and he likes where they are in their development.
“We have four guys that will be fun to work with,” he said. “Obviously, Kelly is on top and we will continue to let these guys compete and see how it all shakes out. It is a good situation.”
Clemson will practice again on Wednesday, and will have a mini-scrimmage at the end of practice just to get an idea of exactly where everyone is at. The Tigers’ first full scrimmage will come on March14.