Clemson coach does not believe battle will end there
Though he did not come right out and say it, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney indicated Tuesday his quarterback competition could go into September. After last week’s spring game, the Tigers still have four guys who have an argument to be Clemson’s starter.
Swinney, plus co-offensive coordinators Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott, said they could win at a high level with any of the four quarterbacks on the roster. However, fans and media alike have already formed the opinion that freshman Trevor Lawrence should overtake the incumbent starter Kelly Bryant.
“Regardless of where we are today, we have a long way to go before we play in September,” Swinney said to the media, including The Clemson Insider, at Tuesday’s Prowl & Growl event in Columbia. “No matter what happens in September, I don’t think the competition is going to end.
“I think we have guys on the roster that are going to be driven each and every day to either be the guy or beat the guy out or make the guy better, whatever it may be.”
Lawrence looked poised and comfortable in the offense this past Saturday, throwing for 122 yards, while completing 11-of-16 passes including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Tee Higgins. The freshman also threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Higgins which was called back due to Lawrence being tagged down by defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. He also found freshman tight end Braden Galloway for a long gain downfield in the fourth quarter, but again, he was ruled down by a tag.
While Lawrence showed off his arm strength and talent, Bryant struggled to complete 8-of-15 passes for 35 yards. He overthrew tight end Milan Richard and Hunter Renfrow. Both were running open down the field.
But Clemson knows what it has in Bryant. After all, he did lead the team to a 12-2 record and back to the College Football Playoff for a third straight year.
Hunter Johnson and Chase Brice also showed off their potential to the crowd. Johnson threw for 85 yards and a touchdown, while also running for a score. The sophomore threw a 37-yard pass to Higgins and also found the wide receiver for an 18-yard touchdown.
Brice threw for a game-high 231 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Diondre Overton. However, he did throw three interceptions.
“It is exciting. We have good players. We have great young men,” Swinney said. “That is a position where we have a high level of character and a high level of intelligence. They all want to be the guy and they have good relationships with each other. It is a real positive for our program.”
And so is getting all the attention. Clemson’s quarterback competition has been all the talk on local and national radio as well as on ESPN.
“I like having the attention on any position that has a lot of talent,” Swinney said. “That means it is a good thing. It means that people see we have multiple guys that are very talented at certain spots, whether it is the quarterback, the running backs, the receivers, the D-Line, whatever it might be. I think that is always a positive when you have great competition.”