Let’s face it. The spring game did not do Kelly Bryant any favors.
Already under scrutiny for last year’s performance in the Sugar Bowl, it did not help matters that heralded recruit Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s No. 1 overall player for the 2018 Class, came in and threw a 50-yard touchdown pass on his second play of the game and then proceeded to post good numbers, while Bryant ultimately stumbled.
From that point on, fair or not, media and fans alike just assumed Lawrence would beat out Bryant for the No. 1 job in fall camp. He did not.
Bryant ultimately won the job, which surprised a lot of people.
“If you really watched the spring game, there were a lot of things I could have done better,” Lawrence said on Monday as he spoke to the media at the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “Just from an outsider, maybe some people would have thought that. Knowing what I know and what the coaches know, there were definitely some things I could have corrected and did not do very well.”
Whatever those things were, Lawrence got better in fall camp, and ultimately earned playing time. In last week’s opening game against Furman, Lawrence came in on the fourth series and played three straight possessions, while alternating with Bryant in the third quarter.
“Whatever the coaches want to do,” Lawrence said. “I don’t really know how to phrase that. I know that he started on Saturday and I came in after so. Right now, that is where we are at. I’m going to keep working and just play well whenever I go in.”
This is not the first time in his playing career Lawrence has been part of a two-quarterback system.
“It was the same situation when I was a freshman in high school,” he said. “I played, but I did not start at first. I kind of went through the season and kept playing well when I went in and it worked out. I’m just going to keep doing that.”
Lawrence definitely did that on Saturday against Furman. He became just the second true freshman in Clemson history to throw at least three touchdown passes in a game. He finished his debut 9-of-15 for 137 yards.
The Cartersville, Ga., native isn’t sure what Bryant has done to give him the edge in the competition to this point, but Lawrence isn’t focusing on any of that.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m sure you guys have asked the coaches and they’ve told y’all, but we don’t really talk about it — they don’t tell us why he starts really. It’s just going through practice, they felt like he earned the position, and I think he did a really good job this fall in fall camp. He practiced really well.”