Most times when the starting quarterback goes down with an injury, a coaching staff has a lot of concerns. That is not the case at Clemson.
When starter Kelly Bryant missed the entire second half of last Saturday’s win over Georgia Southern, the offense did not miss a beat. Why? Because Trevor Lawrence has already been playing like a starter.
Clemson’s quarterback rotation benefited greatly against the Eagles and it gives co-offensive coordinators Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott a comfort zone that they can call every game the same no matter who is taking the snaps behind center.
“I look at it as a positive,” Scott said Monday from the Poe Indoor Practice Facility in Clemson. “Just like when Kelly went down, it looks like he is going to be fine, but if that would have been something that he was going to be out for a while, at least you are not telling the second quarterback, who has not taken many reps all year, ‘Alright, let’s go! The season is yours.’ You have two guys ready.”
Lawrence has played just as many plays as Bryant has and in fact as thrown two less passes in three games. Bryant has completed 68.2 percent of his passes for 405 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He is 30-for-44 throwing the ball.
Lawrence has completed 26-of-42 passes for 424 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He has completed 61.9 percent of his passes. By the way, both have completed a long pass of 64 yards, while Bryant is averaging 135.0 yards per game and Lawrence 141.3 per game.
“I think looking at those guys, the stats are kind of eerie how similar those guys are,” Scott said. “They are by about 19 yards off after three games. For us, we look at it as an advantage, but as far as playing calling and putting together game plans, even though people may say there is a huge difference, they are similar in what we are asking them to do and going out and executing it. If something changes, then we will adjust to that.”
As long as both quarterbacks continue to play well and their teammates continue to have good chemistry with them then Clemson could be playing a two-quarterback system indefinitely this year.
“We are very comfortable with that,” Scott said. “As coaches you are always critical, offensively, if you do not score a touchdown every time when you get the ball. So, I think whenever we go and watch the drive that did not end with a touchdown or at least a field goal, there is not many of those where we are saying, ‘Well, it is the quarterback and we are inconsistent here and we do not have the chemistry.
“We have not felt any of that.”