There is a reason why Lawrence is pushing Bryant for the starting job
With Hunter Johnson moving on to Northwestern, the competition to be Clemson’s starting quarterback this fall comes down to two guys – the wily veteran and the upstart freshman.
After taking his team to the College Football Playoff and winning an ACC Championship in 2017, it would almost be absurd to think Kelly Bryant is playing for his job this summer. At most places, he would own the keys to the car and just about everything else on campus.
However, most other quarterbacks around the country don’t have the No. 1 recruit in the country pushing them for their job. Trevor Lawrence is not like most freshmen. He is extremely intelligent, has great instincts and pocket awareness, and a cannon for a right arm.
In other words, he would take the starting job away from just about anybody in the country.
What does all this mean to Kelly Bryant? He knows he has to be get better this summer.
After a disappointing performance in the spring game, Bryant said he had a lot of work to do before fall camp gets here in August. There are no quarterback camps or summer vacations or anything on his agenda. His plan is to work all summer.
“I have to get better,” he said. “Whether it is throwing or being more technical with my mechanics … there just isn’t one thing.”
Bryant struggled to do any of those things in the spring game. He completed just 8-of-15 passes for 35 yards and twice missed a receiver running wide open down the field. It was not the kind of day he imagined after his coaches said he had a good spring up until that point.
The senior wishes he could have taken back those passes where he missed to tight end Milan Richard and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
“Those overthrown balls, I overthrew two straight out of the gate,” he said. “They could have changed the flow of the game. But, you know, that is part of the game. You have to keep playing. You can’t really fault yourself because you have a whole game ahead of you.”
Bryant said he got a little too excited on both of those throws.
“It’s simple throwing the ball when they are that wide open so I have to get better at that,” he said. “I will take that and watch a little bit of film and see if I can get back at it.”
While Bryant was struggling to hit the long passes, Lawrence excelled.
The freshman twice hit wide receiver Tee Higgins for long 50-yard touchdowns. One stayed on the scoreboard and the other was taken off because he was tagged down by defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
Lawrence also found tight end Cannon Smith and wide receiver Amari Rodgers for 23-yard gains and he hit freshman Braden Galloway on a long pass which was negated by the touch rule as well.
As for Bryant, he had no touchdowns and did not complete a long pass. And though he could not run like he likes to, because the quarterbacks were not live, the senior did not use that as an excuse for his ineffectiveness.
“It allows us to adjust because maybe there are some situations where you are not allowed to use your legs and you have to make plays with your arm,” Bryant said.
And that is an area of his game where Bryant knows he has to improve.
Hot off the press. ‘Back with a Vengeance’ is now available for online orders. TCI takes an in-depth look at the upcoming season as the Tigers march towards another national championship. Order your copy today!