Considering the intense competition between his four quarterbacks, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is loose and all smiles as he talks about the competition between incumbent Kelly Bryant, sophomore Hunter Johnson and freshmen Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice.
Swinney even joked at an IPTAY Prowl & Growl event last week he would let the media see his transcripts from the meetings he had with each of the Tigers’ four quarterbacks.
“Just let me email that to you,” Swinney said with a big grin on his face.
Clemson’s quarterback competition is one of the hot topics heading into the 2018 college football season, especially after Johnson and Lawrence performed so well in the spring game last month. At each Prowl & Growl event since, Swinney has had to answer at least one question about the quarterbacks from the media and several in the question-and-answer sessions from the fans.
Though jovial, the Tigers’ head coach said the meetings he had with each one of them were important because he needed to make sure they were all on the same page heading into the summer workouts.
“Obviously, with the quarterbacks, there is good competition going on,” Swinney said. “They know exactly where they are grade wise and what they have to do, so it has been good.”
This is not the first time the Tigers have gone into the summer with an intense battle at quarterback. Clemson had a similar situation in 2014 when senior Cole Stoudt was trying to hold off freshman Deshaun Watson.
Stoudt did started the season for Clemson, but by Week 4 Watson took the job from him.
Swinney says the process will be the same this fall. He is going to let the players decide who the starter will be by how they perform, even if it goes into the regular season.
“You grade everything. You evaluate every drill and tape because you have to have a process. You can’t just anoint people,” he said. “You have a team concept and when you do not make people earn that, there is a breakdown.”
The process is no different, according to Swinney, than when he started as the head coach in 2009.
Questions surrounding the quarterback position started after Bryant struggled in the spring game and Lawrence and Johnson shined. All the fans and the media have wanted to talk about since the spring game on April 14 is the quarterback competition.
“That is just where we are,” Swinney said. “The process now is no different than in 2009 when I started. Every position is the same. Quarterback is no different. The only difference is we do not tackle them in practice.
“You have somebody who is a first-team (guy) and sometimes there is a big gap and sometimes it’s close. If it is close then you take it to the games and then you let it work itself out.”