Swinney explains how tough it was to pick against Kelly Bryant
Monday was not a good day for Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney.
Because he had to tell a player he loves and respects that he was not going to start for the first time in 19 games. Of course, that person is senior quarterback Kelly Bryant, who Swinney spoke to Monday afternoon following the news freshman Trevor Lawrence was going to get the start against Syracuse Saturday in Death Valley.
“It is a bad day to be the head coach,” Swinney said Tuesday during his weekly press conference. “Most days it is good. I love Kelly. It was emotional. It was emotional for him. It was a tough day.”
The day was so tough for Bryant, Swinney gave him the day off from practice and did not make either quarterback available to the media this week.
Swinney said quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter spoke to Bryant on Sunday and informed him of their decision. Swinney then texted his senior and set up Monday’s meeting.
“It was emotional. It was tough because he has played well.,” Swinney said of the meeting with his quarterback. “There is not a guy since I have been here that has been committed to this program more than Kelly Bryant.
“There is not a better leader. This guys in the epitome of what you want. This is who you want your son to be like. I love him, like a son. It was a very difficult conversation.”
Swinney said Bryant is very disappointed, but he does not have any doubt he will get back to work and will respond.
“I’m glad God is not a coach. I can tell you that,” Swinney said. “I can tell you that because as a coach you have to be critical. You have to rank people. It is horrible. I am thankful God is not that way. With God, everybody is first team. There is no first-team, second-team or third-team.
“We are all five-stars with God. We have an eternal contract that it under warranty. So, I’m glad God is not a football coach. That is not a good situation. I hate being in that situation, but that is my job.”
Swinney said his job is to critique, judge, evaluate, hold people accountable, be fair and do what is right for his team.
“It does not make it easier, but with where we are and what we are doing this weekend, it is right,” he said. “We will see where we go from there. But, it was tough. It is hard. It really is.
“I always tell people that it does not always go the right way, but you have to respond. When we have adversity in our life, and it does not go our way, it can destroy you, develop you or define you. I hope this will continue to develop Kelly in the player that he is and be a better version of himself and just continue to grind. Just be who he has been. It was a hard conversation.”