SUNSET, S.C. — Dabo Swinney says Kelly Bryant came out of the spring as his No. 1 quarterback. However, the Clemson coach says the gap has closed.
“It is a daily competition, a daily battle,” Swinney said Tuesday as he hosted his annual media golf outing at The Reserve on Lake Keowee in Sunset, S.C. “I’m very confident in Kelly Bryant. I believe in Kelly. I think he can lead this team. He has already proven he can do that, but he is so much better today than he was this time last year.”
Swinney has also seen improvement in freshmen Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice. He has seen enough in practice, in meetings and who they are as people that they deserve an opportunity to compete.
Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter says it all comes down to who has earned playing time.
Streeter indicated they will play multiple quarterbacks this year if they have all earned playing time.
“They have to earn it first. If they earn playing time, then there are a lot of different ways you can play two quarterbacks or three quarterbacks,” he said. “I’ve seen it done before, so I think it is all about how you present it, how you prepare for it, but we have a couple of guys who have different parts of their game that they are better at than others.
“When you have a couple different kinds of quarterbacks it can be really stressful for the defense. We will see how this thing pans out, but it is definitely something that we have talked about or considered, especially if they have earned it.”
Streeter says the only plan the Tigers have right now at quarterback is one for the first game. The Tigers open the season on Sept. 1 against Furman at Death Valley.
“The plan is to go into that first game with a plan of who is going to play and how much they’re going to play,” he said. “The plan is for at least those first three guys, they’re going to play. How much? That will be determined by preseason camp, their performance in preseason scrimmages and their performance in those first games, especially that first game and the first couple games. But they’re all going to play.”
Like Swinney, Streeter says Bryant is his starter because he has earned it. He says Bryant will start fall camp, which begins on Aug. 2, with the first-team offense.
“He has improved every single semester that he has been here,” Streeter said. “And obviously, we have talented guys that are right there with him too that are going to have an opportunity.”
Whoever his No. 1 quarterback is when the season starts Streeter wants him to be able to manage the game in a consistent manner. Be a consistent performer in practice and in scrimmages.
“The worst thing as a quarterback’s coach or any coach is putting a guy out there that you don’t put trust in, or you are not sure exactly how they are going to respond to the performance and to the atmosphere,” he said. “So, you look for consistency and who can be that consistent rock and that these guys know that he can lead them down the field and score some touchdowns.”
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