|by David Hood|
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris approached Watson on the sideline and said, “It’s your time.”
Watson went out and promptly delivered.
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.
Morris said that the touchdown throw was even more special because Watson read the defense and changed the protection before the snap.
“It was a check. We had a check on that play, and he did a great job in picking that up,” Morris said. “I thought he did a great job of reading the defense, checking, and then changing the protection to where he could make that throw. That is big-time.”
Watson said making the check was something he had prepared for.
“We had game-planned for those guys. We had answers for what we had seen, and I checked to the right answer on that play,” Watson said. “We managed to execute it, and we got into the endzone. That was the great thing about it. It felt great. It is something that every freshman dreams about – getting to score on that first drive. It felt good.”
Watson said he was patiently waiting for the call, and he wasn’t too surprised when he was informed he was getting his chance.
“They told me to go with the flow,” Watson said. “They told me I could get in during the first quarter, or it could be in the fourth quarter. But Coach Swinney and Coach Morris came over and told me it was my time, and I went in and took advantage of that. It felt great. They said I was up next, and I went out and did the best I could.”
However, Watson said that he understands his role and will support Cole Stoudt in whatever role the coaches see fit.
“We all trust and believe in Cole,” he said. “This is his time, and I am patiently waiting for my time. I have to be the best teammate and player I can be, but I have to keep working hard and pushing Cole to be a better player.”
He then said that win or lose, he was proud to be a Clemson Tiger.
“It was great just being able to experience my first college game with Clemson,” he said. “It is something I have always dreamed about. Win or lose, we always keep our heads high and we will walk out of here with class. It was great to see my brothers fight to the finish, and playing here tonight is something I have always dreamed of.”
David Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org