Following his team’s Week 1 over Louisville, Alabama head coach Nick Saban was asked about his quarterbacks, Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts, by ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor.
“What answers do you have about your quarterbacks after watching both of them play tonight,” Taylor asked.
Saban responded in only the way Saban knows how. He got annoyed.
“I still like both guys,” he said. “I think both guys are good players and I think both guys can help our team, all right. So, why do you continually try to get me to say something that does not respect one of them? I am not going to so quit asking.”
On Wednesday, during the ACC Coaches Teleconference, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney could have got annoyed when a New York Times reporter asked him about the competition involving Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence.
However, Swinney had a different point of view than Saban.
“I’m not annoyed by it at all, to be honest with you,” Swinney said. “It would be crazy to not ask me about it because it is unusual to have two guys that are playing and are really playing well. So, I think it has been really cool.”
Unlike Saban, where he has named Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback, Swinney has not named a starter for the season. Bryant will get the start when the second-ranked Tigers host Georgia Southern on Saturday (Noon, ESPNU) in Game 3, but Swinney has not classified either one as the primary starter.
Lawrence will play in a similar fashion he has been playing in the first two games against Furman and Texas A&M.
“We are only two games in so we have a long way to go over the course of the season, but we have a senior who is such a great leader for us. He has played well in two games and has done some things that he needed to do,” Swinney said.
Bryant started the first two games this year. He played five series overall in Game 1 and last week played eight, including the last five against Texas A&M. Lawrence on the other hand led the Tigers on five drives against Furman and six in the A&M game.
“Then we have this freshman, who is as talented of a kid that I have ever had, who has demonstrated that he can play at a high level as well,” Swinney said. “He goes in on his first play on the road, College Station, no big deal, and throws a touchdown pass. So it is really neat.”
So far this year, Bryant has completed 23-of-34 passes (67.6 percent) for 337 yards and two touchdowns, while running for another 98 yards and two scores as well. Lawrence is 14-of-23 (60.9 percent) for 230 yards and four touchdowns.
The best statistic off all. Neither one of them has turned the football over.
“I think the neat thing is they are both competitors, but it’s how they compete and how they support each other is very refreshing,” Swinney said. “They just focus on their opportunity and doing well. So, I’m just really proud of what I have seen after two games and I am hopeful that they both will continue to play at a high level.”
Swinney says the game plan for both quarterbacks this week will be similar to what they have done in the first two weeks.
“Sometimes situations in games may dictate who plays more or whatever, but right now after two games we are going to continue to play them and I don’t see it as a problem at all. It is a huge blessing because I know that both of those guys can win at a high level for us,” he said.