Clemson quarterback does not let a bad throw or two affect his confidence
Trevor Lawrence’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Justyn Ross was one of those plays where two great players made a great play.
First off, Lawrence did an incredible job to keep the play alive as he scrambled to his left, while keeping his eyes down field. He then was able to throw the ball back across his body, some thirty yards, to the back of the end zone where he put the football where only Ross could catch it.
Ross did the rest. The 6-foot-4 wide receiver hung in there air as if he was going to dunk a basketball as he snagged the football, while having the presence of mind to get a foot down in the end zone for six points.
“That was not exactly how you coach it up,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “But he has a lot of trust in his wideouts.”
Scott said Lawrence got a plus and minus on the 25-yard touchdown pass, his second of the afternoon in the Tigers’ 45-10 victory this past Saturday. It’s just what a team gets when it has a gunslinger like Lawrence, who has the confidence to think he can make every throw, no matter how difficult it might be.
“As a coach, you always like to say ‘Whoa!’ more than ‘Sic em!’ We have had guys in the past where you are challenging them, ‘Hey! Throw it up. They don’t have to be wide open.’ But with guys like Trevor and guys like Deshaun (Watson), who are used to making spectacular plays, they make a lot of those and then sometimes that can get them in trouble, similar to the interceptions we had on the other end where we have to be smarter and check the ball down,” Scott said. “So, I think Trevor got a minus and a plus there on that last touchdown right before the half.”
Lawrence finished the game 20 of 29 for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also throwing two interceptions. The two picks came in the first quarter and both at the goal line when the Tigers had opportunities to extend what was just a 3-0 lead at the time.
In his 22 college games, it marked the first time Lawrence threw an interception in the first quarter. In all, Scott said Lawrence made just four bad decisions in the game, including the two interceptions. But he did not allow it to affect how he played the rest of the game.
After going 3-for-7 for 9 yards with those two interceptions in the first quarter, Lawrence completed 9-of-9 passes in the second quarter for 156 yards, including the touchdown pass to Ross and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Ngata.
“There is a fine line between trusting yourself and then over doing it and trying to make too many plays,” Lawrence said. “I think both of those (interceptions) I was kind of looking at too much and trying to do too much. That’s just me needing to learn a little more about just checking down with the running back or giving it to Travis, or if nothing is there just throwing it away. Those are two things I can learn from.”
Lawrence quickly shook both interceptions off and went on to have a good game overall. He says he does not ever want a mistake to affect the way he plays the game or his aggressive nature to want to push the football down the field.
“That is something I was happy with, how I really did not allow that to affect me,” he said. “I just kept going and I kept firing. That was something I wanted to make sure that I did was to not allow two bad plays dictate the rest of the game.”
As for the touchdown pass to Ross, Lawrence felt like he put the football right where it needed to be.
“I feel like I put it in a spot where either he was going to get it or no one was,” Clemson’s quarterback said. “It may have gotten tipped or something crazy, it could have been bad. Looking back on it, in the situation with 17 seconds, we had one timeout left, it probably would have been smarter to just check it down or throw it away quick so we can run another play so we could score or kick a field goal. But that was just instincts kicking in and trying to make a play.”
And that just comes with having a talented quarterback who has the arm strength, the ability and the mindset to try and make those kinds of plays.
“What we talk to our quarterbacks about, and I know Coach (Brandon) Streeter does a great job with those guys,” Scott said. “But the three biggest things that we talk to Trevor and our quarterbacks about is number one, how you respond to adversity. Number two, having physical and mental toughness and number three, being the leader of the offense. Trevor has done an outstanding job in all three of those areas this year. He just has to eliminate some of those poor decisions throwing the ball up into coverage looks and understanding that it is okay to check it down to the backs and take that base hit every once in a while.
“It is very similar where we were with Deshaun. Those guys that are gunslingers. They have had a lot of success throughout their careers throwing those balls into tight windows to their wideouts. When it does not go well, then it is a very poor decision. But when it does got well, like the one right before halftime, then everybody is happy about it. As a coach you have to kind of reel it back in and understand when the right time is to make those throws.”
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