Notebook: Fields should be back this week, Powell still a question mark
For those out there who might think Kelly Bryant could possibly come back to Clemson, they might want to stop thinking that way.
When asked if he had received any indication that Bryant would be interested in coming back, Swinney said, “No.”
Of course, this all started at the start of the second half in the Tigers’ 27-23 win over Syracuse on Saturday. Following the news freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence was going to miss the rest of the game, ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe reported she asked Swinney if he would take Bryant back. According to Rowe, Swinney’s answer was “Heck yeah. I love that kid.”
However, after the Tigers’ come-from-behind win, and during Sunday’s teleconference with the media, Swinney said, “I am not entertaining any questions on guys that are not here.”
Of course, Bryant quit the team last Tuesday and announced he was going to transfer to another school a day after Swinney told the media Lawrence was going to start the Syracuse game. With Bryant no longer with the team, Clemson had to turn to redshirt freshman Chase Brice after Lawrence left the game with a head injury late in the second quarter.
Brice went on to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback for the ages in Clemson lore, as the Tigers rallied from 10-points down with 12:58 remaining to win the game. He guided the Tigers on a 13-play, 94-yard game-winning drive that took 5:25 off the clock.
During the drive, Brice made a huge 20-yard completion to Tee Higgins on a fourth-and-six play, from the Clemson 48, with 2:45 to play. He then ran 17 yards on a zone-read play, which set the Tigers up in scoring position at the Syracuse 15.
Travis Etienne then ran the final 2 yards of the drive for the game-winning score with 41 seconds to play.
“That was definitely one for the ages,” Swinney said. “I have been a part of a lot of games, but like I said yesterday, that is one I will never forget.”
Fields should be back. Swinney said senior cornerback Mark Fields should be back with the team after being suspended for Saturday’s game due to disciplinary issues.
Swinney expects Fields back at practice on Monday “as long as he does what he needs to do.”
Powell’s status for Wake Forest game in question. Swinney said reserve wide receiver and kick returner Cornwell Powell’s situation is a little bit different than Fields, and his status for this coming Saturday’s game at Wake Forest is still up in the air.
Powell was suspended for the Syracuse game as well.
“Cornell is kind of out of my hands,” Swinney said. “He has a situation that has to be resolved and hopefully it gets resolved this week, and if so he will be back rolling, if not, I will let you know.”
Without Powell, Clemson struggled in kick returns against Syracuse, returning three kicks for just 52 yards. Powell is averaging 29.2 yards per return, which allowed Clemson to lead the ACC in kick returns prior to Saturday’s game.
“We turned a couple of guys loose yesterday,” Swinney said. “They did a little unique formation and we did not do a good job of adjusting so we had a couple of guys get turned loose. We have plenty of options at returner. Certainly, Amari (Rodgers) and DK (Derion Kendrick) and Lyn-J (Dixon). Those are three guys that worked a lot at it in fall camp, but we have to make sure we get the guys identified properly or it does not matter who you have back there.
“We had done a nice job to that point, but that was our worse game in that area.”
Rodgers had one return for 22 yards, Dixon had a 16-yard return and Kendrick had a 14-yard return.