When he played behind Deshaun Watson in the first two years of his college career, Kelly Bryant saw what it took to be the quarterback at Clemson.
Watson worked for his job, no one just handed it to him. Granted, the now Houston Texans’ quarterback is perhaps the greatest player to ever come through Clemson, but greatness was not handed to him. He had to earn it.
Watson earned it my coming to every meeting prepared. No matter if it was a quarterbacks meeting, an offensive team meeting or a team meeting, he always walked in with a list of questions, concerns and solutions. He was always taking notes.
On the practice field Watson always came prepared to practice. He never took a day off. He was always one of the first ones on the field and one of the last ones off. He always stayed and threw the football to his wide receivers.
Watson lived in the film room. He was constantly watching film on his opponents and grading himself. He never wanted to leave a stone unturned.
In other words, if someone wanted to come and take Watson’s job from him, they were going to have to outwork him.
Kelly Bryant is the same way, and he sees what is being written and talked about in the media and by fans. However, he just takes it in stride. Why? Because he knows if someone is going to take the starting quarterback job from him, they will have to earn it.
They are not going to outwork him.
“He knows you have to compete every day,” Swinney said. “He saw that with Deshaun. Deshaun went out every day and proved he was the best guy. That is what we challenge all of our guys to do.”
Last year, people thought Bryant would eventually be overtaken by Hunter Johnson or Zerrick Cooper. That never happened. Instead, Bryant went out and earned the job and then led the Tigers to a third straight ACC Championship and third straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Now, with fall camp starting on Friday, the media and fans are once again writing Bryant off. With Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s No. 1 player coming out of high school, pushing the senior, many are wondering how well Bryant can handle the pressure.
“He has a good understanding. He is very confident. He believes in himself as he should and he works his tail off,” Swinney said. “He knows it is a game of performance. He is excited to get out there and show that he should be the guy.
“He has handled it well.”
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