|by David Hood|
Watson entered the game late in the first quarter, and his first play on the collegiate level was a seven-yard run over the left side. He then hit Mike Williams with a beautiful throw that covered 29 yards early in the second quarter, and completed his first action as a Tiger by hooking up with Charone Peake on a 30-yard scoring strike that tied the game at 14-14.
Watson played a few series later, but all four of his passing attempts and yardage came on that first drive. Stoudt finished the evening 15-for-28 for 130 yards and an interception, but Swinney and Morris both said that Stoudt is still the guy and blamed the Tigers’ second half offensive ills on a lack of field position.
Swinney said it was good to see Watson get his first snaps, and that Stoudt’s troubles were because of failures in other spots.
“That was great for him and he did fine,” Swinney said. “What a great first drive for him in his career. I am glad Deshaun got some good experience. I thought Cole had a great first half. He did some good things in the second half, too, but we just didn’t help him enough. “
Swinney then left the door open – however slightly – by saying that Watson and Stoudt will be evaluated each week.
“It will be a game-by-game evaluation for us. We want to get him (Watson) some experience, and we won’t be bashful about it,” Swinney said. “We believe he can go out there and execute the system for us. There is nothing set in stone, but I am proud of Cole, though. I am proud of how he competed.”
Morris said that he thought both quarterbacks played better than the score indicated.
“I thought Cole played well. I am really proud of him, and I thought he came in here and executed the offense extremely well,” Morris said. “There was one series in the second half that disappointed me, but outside of that he did well. Deshaun came in, and I don’t think the environment was too big for him. I wish he could have gotten something going on that last drive. He was out there, but he just didn’t have time. I thought both of them played well and I am excited about them.”
Morris was adamant, however, that Stoudt is his starter.
“I am excited about Cole. He is our starter,” Morris said. “We understand that Deshaun is the future, but I imagine his role will be similar to what it is right now. You know, we will be getting him ready for when it is his turn. But I am extremely proud of Cole and I thought he came out and managed the game extremely well. I am proud of Cole.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org