Dabo Swinney wants to win. And to do that, Clemson’s head coach can’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings.
His job is to try and win as many football games as possible for Clemson while helping his student athletes along the way. That is why Swinney is playing two quarterbacks right now. For the second week in a row, the Tigers will start Kelly Bryant, but freshman Trevor Lawrence will play as well when the second-ranked Tigers take on Texas A&M this Saturday at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas.
Clemson is one of several teams playing two quarterbacks right now, and during Tuesday’s weekly press conference Swinney was asked if the two-quarterback system in college football was becoming a new trend.
Swinney said he did not look at it that way.
“I think it is just a year by year basis. I’m not trying to keep anyone happy,” he said. “I had two transfer (this year). I had two quarterbacks last year that are not here anymore.”
Zerrick Cooper transferred out of Clemson last January, while Hunter Johnson left following spring practice. Both were co-backups to Bryant last year.
“I am not trying to keep nobody happy and nobody from transferring. I just want to win,” Swinney said. “The best player is going to play.”
In last week’s win over Furman, Bryant and Lawrence each played five possessions. Lawrence threw for 137 yards and three touchdowns, while Bryant ran for a score and threw for another. The senior also threw for 126 yards in the victory.
“I love all of my players and I try to encourage all of these guys and try to get them better year in and year out, but at the end of the day, the best players are going to play,” Swinney said. “Just because you were the best player one year that does not mean you were the best player the next year. You don’t carry any of that over.
“That is just the culture of our program. So, that is why you go recruit. I go recruit every year. If a freshman can beat out a senior, then so be it. I have had that happen many of times. I don’t see that as a wave of the future or anything like that. I just think that it is a team-by-team and a year-by-year basis based on your situation. Your competitive situation and who is there.”
Swinney said his whole goal is to do what is right.
“Who is returning. Who is coming in and what is the competitive balance and nature of that,” he said. “That is a year to year thing. I just try to do what is right. And try to love and serve my players. I am not trying to keep anyone happy. I just want to win and do it the right way.”