The Clemson Insider takes a look back at the Orange & White Spring game this Saturday in Death Valley. The Orange team defeated the White team with a final score of 28-17.
The Orange team came out of the gate quickly on Saturday with Hunter Johnson and Trevor Lawrence leading them on offense. Lawrence, the highly touted No. 1 quarterback in this year’s recruiting class, only took two passes to throw his first touchdown as a Clemson Tiger on a 50-yard strike to Tee Higgins.
Two drives later Hunter Johnson hit Higgins for another touchdown. Both Orange team QB’s looked like they were ready to lead the Tigers into the 2018 season. The White team struggled out of the gate with returning starter Kelly Bryant and redshirt sophomore Chase Brice at the helm of the offense. Bryant failed to get anything going in the first half, completing only 4-of-9 passes for 13 yards. He did not complete a pass over five yards in the first half, overthrowing several wide-open targets down the field.
Brice actually had some flashes of brilliance and easily outplayed Bryant, throwing for 113 yards in the first half alone. The running game was relatively underwhelming with only Travis Etienne showing any sort of spark. He was the only running back to rush for a touchdown and had a couple elusive runs that was reminiscent of what we saw last year from him.
Trevor Lawrence’s first drive was everything that Clemson fans could have imagined. He began the Orange team’s second drive of the game with a 23-yard completion to Cannon Smith and then a 50-yard bomb for a touchdown to Tee Higgins on the next play. Death Valley reached its peak volume and everyone got a glimpse of the future of Clemson football in that drive.
What Went Right?
QB play from Trevor Lawrence and Hunter Johnson looked very promising. The wide receiver position will be elite this year with so many options. Tee Higgins will be the feature piece after his four catches for 118 yards and two touchdown performance. The defensive line and linebacker positions looked very solid and should be one of the best units in the nations. They will have to be to make up for the lack of depth in the secondary.
What Went Wrong?
The offensive line lacked a consistent push on both teams. This mixed in with the lack of an explosive running game lead to a relatively weak offensive performance outside of Hunter Johnson and Trevor Lawrence in the passing game. The secondary got blown up for some long gains and has plenty of work to do this summer before the start of the season. While Johnson and Lawrence played well, that makes the QB decision even more difficult after seeing how poorly Bryant played. Dabo Swinney will have the Cole Stoudt – Deshaun Watson dilemma on his mind this summer.