Swinney heartbroken for Phommachanh

Swinney heartbroken for Phommachanh

Football

Swinney heartbroken for Phommachanh

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Backup quarterback had his best spring, was coming into his own

One of the things Dabo Swinney wanted to see from Taisun Phommachanh this spring was his development as a leader. The Clemson coach wanted to see if the redshirt freshman could lead the Tigers to victory if he was called upon.

Phommachanh delivered in Saturday’s Orange & White Game as he led the White Team from 13 points down with two fourth quarter touchdowns, as it rallied for a 14-13 victory over the Orange at Death Valley.

The Tigers’ backup quarterback even led the White team on a game-winning drive in the final few minutes. Swinney was seeing what he wanted in Phommachanh’s development and then it happened.

While throwing a third-down pass to Davis Allen, which set up Phil Mafah’s game-winning touchdown, Phommachanh went down with what appears to be a torn Achilles heel.

“It was really a tough break for Taisun. He was having his best spring,” Swinney said. “He really had a good competitive day, today. He put together a drive. It was awesome to see that. I am really disappointed for him.”

Phommachanh finished the afternoon 14-for-25 for 163 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ajou Ajou. He was 9-for-11 for 123 yards in the fourth quarter.

“He has four years left in college football. Sometimes, we have these types of injuries,” Swinney said. “It is so easy to magnify the pain of the moment, especially when you are a young person. It is so heart broken in that moment. But he has his experience, his knowledge and his progress. All of these things he has been able to do, that is not going to go away.

“So, this is definitely a setback for him. It is a setback for our team, but everybody deals with challenges. Everybody deals with setbacks along the way, and it is how you respond to those things that really determines everyone’s success. I know he is made of the right stuff. I know he will respond the right way. We will put a great team around him and get him back and better than ever.”

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