It was an eventful start to the 2018 Clemson football season as it began by getting stuck on an elevator for about 25 minutes. The positive part about it, I suppose, is that I have 19 new friends now!
Let’s just get into the meat of it.
This Clemson team is immensely talented and looks to matchup player for player, pound for pound better than anyone in the country.
The Quarterback play in second-ranked Clemson’s 48-7 win over Furman led me to inconclusive results and brought me to a realization that this team could very well end up being a two-quarterback team in the future.
The chemistry seemed to be great for all parties regardless of who was at the helm. Kelly Bryant’s first drive was exactly that, the first drive of the season. KB settled in nicely on his second drive throwing with confidence and setting his feet hitting Amari Rodgers on a perfect strike down the sideline.
After the jitters were out he looked to be back to form with some nice throws down the field and put the finishing touches on his reps bursting through the line of scrimmage with a 35-yard touchdown run. There were questions about Kelly’s deep ball ability and I believe he’s improved in that department along with the guys he’ll be throwing to.
Amari looks to be more explosive than ever in his second season in the orange and Travis Etienne picked up where he left off a year ago.
The story of the day goes to a group of guys that just arrived on campus. The freshmen were phenomenal in their debut, making their presence felt early and often.
Trevor Lawrence looked poised behind center, showing off his arm strength and his poise, characteristics that can’t be taught and what makes him so heralded. He seemed to have an instant connection with young tight end Braden Galloway hitting him downfield a number of times and hooking up in the end zone on a play action pass.
Galloway jumping on the scene is exciting to me as he fits the mold of guys that pre-dated him (Dwayne Allen, Brandon Ford, & Jordan Leggett) with more a flex type of skill set as opposed to the traditional tight end. With Braden being more of a hybrid it makes him a nightmare for linebackers to cover and gives the quarterback confidence that he will win one-on-one matchups.
Lyn-J Dixon, a name that will be heard around the country soon enough, looked outstanding with a great combination of speed and power. I had a little déjà vu seeing Lyn-J, Justyn Ross, and Derion Kendrick in this game. It was very reminiscent of the 2011 opener against Troy when we saw Mike Bellamy and Sammy Watkins show flashes of greatness.
The best part about games like this is a ton of guys get reps. You can practice eight hours a day, seven days a week, but nothing compares to strapping up and going to battle against guys you won’t see in the locker room afterwards.
In this week’s matchup versus Texas A&M, I expect nothing less than Kelly taking the reins in this matchup and continuing to build continuity with the guys around him. He’s another year wiser with veteran leadership up front that’s going to be needed going into the hostile Kyle Field. The young talent on this roster makes you giddy, but there is no need to rush any of them on the field if you’re able to ease them into Saturdays.
College Football is back and Clemson should be poised for Another Clemson Championship!
(Editor’s note: Tajh Boyd is a former All-American and ACC Player of the Year for Clemson from 2010-’13. Boyd is The Clemson Insider’s college football analyst and will be writing a column after every game, as well as being a regular contributor in different capacities throughout the year.)