The 2018 Clemson Prowl & Growl tour continued on Thursday at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston, S.C.
The Clemson Insider was on hand for the event. Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney and head basketball coach Brad Brownell spoke with the media beforehand. The two coaches later took the stage to discuss their teams and answer questions from fans in attendance.
Here is a notebook with the best of what we heard from Swinney and Brownell:
Swinney opens up on QB competition. Swinney was forthright about Clemson’s quarterback situation when asked about it by a fan, hinting that the Tigers are planning to play more than one signal-caller this season.
“I can’t really see any situation right now where we only run one guy out there,” Swinney said. “There’s just too much talent.
“It’s like having Sammy Watkins, Nuk Hopkins and Mike Williams (at receiver). You’re just going to play one?”
Rising senior Kelly Bryant is battling rising sophomore Hunter Johnson, freshman Trevor Lawrence and redshirt freshman Chase Brice for the starting job.
And according to Swinney, the competition may not be resolved before the season starts in September.
“I think it’s a situation that will work itself out,” Swinney said. “Somebody’s going to run out there first in September. We’ve got a long way to go until September. Somebody’s going to run out there first, and that doesn’t mean they have a lifetime contract. It also doesn’t mean they’re going to play every snap because the competition will probably continue. That’s the type of people that we have. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
‘We’re not trying to keep everybody happy.’ Swinney was asked by a media member how he plans to keep everybody happy this season with a wealth of depth on offense, especially in the quarterback room.
Swinney quickly replied that making everyone happy is not the Tigers’ goal.
“We’re not trying to keep everybody happy. We’re trying to just win,” he said. “Everybody has a role. Coaches coach, players play, and it’s always going to be a very competitive environment. I think everybody understands that.
“But there’s nobody out there going, ‘OK, well let’s keep this person happy and this person…’ That’s not how we go about it. That’s not our culture. I think everybody understands that performance is what matters, and that’s why we evaluate and grade and film every single detail of every practice. But guys know if you deserve to play you’re going to have an opportunity to play, but you have to play well.”
Powell has done ‘fine’ at safety. TCI asked Swinney how rising junior Cornell Powell has looked at safety this spring.
Powell has played 304 snaps over 23 games at wide receiver in his first two years, recording 20 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. The native of Greenville, N.C., has yet to log a snap on defense in his career but took some reps at safety in spring practice due to the lack of depth at the position.
“Not sure how you know that (about Powell). I’m going to have to tighten practice down a little bit,” Swinney joked. “He did fine. He was a guy… We were really thin at safety when Nolan (Smith) got hurt, so just took him and put him over there and see how he did… We did some individual with him, did some skelly with him, and he did great. He’s a natural athlete.
“I think we could probably take the great majority of them (the receivers) and move them and they would have a chance because they’re great athletes.”
Brownell calls Swinney a 2-star. During the question-and-answer session with fans, Swinney was asked about all the talent he has on his team and whether you can have too much of it.
Swinney and Brownell then had a humorous exchange.
“You sound like my wife,” Swinney said of the question. “She says as a husband, he does not have too much talent (laughing).”
“She’s got a 2-star all the way,” Brownell added, laughing.
Brownell gets rolled by Dabo. Brownell told a funny story to the fans in attendance about a prank that Swinney and Clemson assistant Danny Pearman pulled on him during his return from the NCAA Tournament after clinching a Sweet 16 berth with wins over New Mexico State and Auburn.
“In fact, I got a text from Dabo on the day of the Auburn game that basically said, ‘Don’t lose this one,'” Brownell said.
“A little funny story along with that. After the big win in San Diego, beating New Mexico State and Auburn, we’re flying back and we all were declaring to call Dabo. It took Dabo a few tries, but we finally passed the hint that we were calling to declare that we wanted him to move that monstrosity of a house that he built.
“And I come back from our trip, and on my porch is a lifesize cutout of me that you sometimes see at the grocery stores. There were all kinds of balloons, and there was a ’16’ on it with little chocolates… But then unfortunately, on every tree in my yard, there were more and more rolls of toilet paper.
“I’m getting to the point, ‘That’s Dabo Swinney and Danny Pearman.’ Then it rained.”