Since camp started two weeks ago, the Clemson coaches have praised Kelly Bryant’s improvements. They have talked about how he is a different quarterback and how each day he continues to be better than the day before.
Following Thursday’s scrimmage at Death Valley, head coach Dabo Swinney praised Bryant once again, saying, “I thought Kelly had his best day. He had a great day. He had multiple touchdown throws. He had a really, really good day.”
What exactly has Bryant done different that he was not doing in the spring?
“It’s with the balls down the field,” co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “He is giving (the receivers) a chance and putting (the passes) where they need to be. He is hitting them over the shoulder. He is hitting them in stride. He is ripping balls in the seams. The quick game is coming out on time and it is getting there. It’s just another year and another step forward. Those are the things I am seeing.”
Obviously, the coaches know what Bryant is capable of as a game-manager and what he is capable of doing in the running game. But so far in camp, they are seeing him make the field out-cuts and those types of throws he was not making last year.
Elliott said the coaches have also challenged Bryant a little different than Trevor Lawrence and Chase Brice when it comes to game management and directing the offense. They want to see if he has taken the next step in the natural progression of a starting quarterback in the offense.
“The game is a little bit different than practice because in the game you have an idea from a game-plan standpoint of what you are going to see, whereas in practice we are installing our entire system,” Elliott said. “So, that is even more challenging to him to be able to handle a bigger load than he would in a game.”
They also wanted to see how he works with the younger quarterbacks and teaches them as well as helping the offensive line and the running backs with protections and really progressing from game manager to game dictator.
“Now you can dictate the game,” Elliott said. “You can manage the protections like Deshaun (Watson) did in 2016 where he was in full control of the game as opposed to just managing and going with the system. He was able to really flourish because he was now dictating the game more so than managing the game.”