Clemson Football 2020 Preview: Tigers have extremely talented group of QBs
Like most college football teams this spring, Clemson did not complete its allotted 15 spring practices from the NCAA. However, the Tigers did get nine practices in, including a stadium scrimmage on March 11, the day before the NCAA and the ACC shut down all collegiate activities and practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Clemson coaching staff was able to get a sense of where their team was at and where they need to improve, which has at least given them a leg up on the competition when it comes to helping their players be where they need to be mentally and physically when the quarantine period breaks and they are allowed to return to campus.
Of course, the quarterback position is set with Trevor Lawrence as the starter. However, there is still a question on will be Lawrence’s backup in 2020. With Chase Brice now at Duke, freshmen Taisun Phommachanh and D.J. Uiagalelei battled it out through the nine spring practices.
“They are still battling there. We are ways away from that, we got a long way until September,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “There is a lot of work to be done. I wish we would have been able to finish.”
Here is what Swinney said about his three quarterbacks and what they were able to get accomplished this spring.
Swinney on Lawrence:
- “Trevor just, I mean, it is what you would expect from a guy that is going to graduate in December and a guy that has played in two national championship games and has lost just one game. He is pretty special where he is right now.”
- “It was awesome to see his sense of urgency this spring on the details of everything he is trying to do. Just really the precision in what he is doing. I mean, it is just another level.”
Swinney on Phommachanh:
- “Taisun has been here longer and, obviously, D.J. only has nine practices so if you play today, certainly Taisun would run out there at two, but we have a long way to go and a lot of competition ahead.”
- “Taisun, he is one of those guys, that when he came in last year, I mean, he was overwhelmed. Day One, he was throwing dirt balls. You could just tell it was moving fast.”
- “And he has worked his tail off. He is very smooth and is very fluid. He is very knowledgeable. You can tell the game has slowed down. I thought he had a very excellent nine days.”
- “He has a little bit of a different technique [than Lawrence and Uiagalelei]. But he is very accurate, and he has big-time arm strength and talent. He just looks different. He had a very good spring.”
Swinney on Uiagalelei:
- “D.J. is, he is just an unbelievable talent. He is just unbelievable. To see a guy that big, he sometimes makes Trevor, and we all know what type of arm Trevor has, and sometimes he makes Trevor just kind of look normal with his ability to just rip that football. It is unbelievable. It really is, and then, oh by the way, he is 6-5, 245 pounds and can move.”
- “I have never really seen a guy quite like him. He is very unique.”
- “You look at these guys and you forget they are just pups. They have so much to learn. What I was pleased with in him, he picked [the offense] up very quick. He was never really overwhelmed, and if he was, I did not know it. I loved his demeanor. Regardless of who you put him in with, he just kinda found a way to move the ball. He has a lot to learn and a lot to do this summer. But I thought he really took advantage of his opportunities and got better from Day 1 through Day 9. He got better and better. That is what you want to see with a guy like him.”
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