The Trevor Lawrence era officially begins Saturday at Death Valley in Clemson.
The freshman will get his first start and will play every meaningful snap as the second-ranked Tigers try to move past the Kelly Bryant saga and focus on the Orange.
Swinney announced on Monday of this week that Lawrence was going to get the start over Bryant, who had started the last 18 games for Clemson. After meeting with Swinney on Monday afternoon, the senior sat out Monday’s practice and then did not practice on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Bryant announced his intentions to leave the Clemson program and transfer to another school thanks to the NCAA’s new redshirt rules which allows players to play up to four games before deciding to sit the rest of the year and redshirt.
Bryant, who graduated in May, will leave Clemson as a graduate player.
Though Swinney says everyone in the locker room is disappointed that Bryant is leaving the team, including himself, he feels it will not affect how the Tigers will play on Saturday.
“These players understand competition,” Swinney said. “Players play, coaches coach. You don’t always agree with decisions and things like that, but you get back to work.
“You take who you got and you make the best of it. That is exactly what we will do.”
Swinney feels a lot of the Bryant story is being blown out of portion because of the position in which Bryant played at Clemson.
“Everybody is making a big deal of this because this is the quarterback,” he said. “This happens every year. There is a sophomore that beats out a senior or there is a freshman, an unbelievable and rare freshman like a Nuk (Hopkins), a Sammy (Watkins), a Dexter (Lawrence), a Christian (Wilkins), a Deshaun (Watson), a Mitch Hyatt or whatever that walk in here and beats out a veteran guy.
“That happens every year. This is not something that never happens. This just so happened it was at quarterback this year. That is just where we are. I don’t know what else to say.”
Swinney says he will have his team ready to play when the Tigers kick off the game at noon on ABC.
“My job is to do what is best for the team,” he said. “It is not always easy, but that is my job. I try to do it with the very best of my ability and do what is right.”