|Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 9:44 AM- -|
I chose to not write about Clemson basketball or baseball today. Life is too short to dwell on a really bad day for Clemson athletics. So I made a choice to focus on something a little more positive, Clemson football.
Perhaps the biggest storyline of spring football practice is the competition for the backup quarterback spot.
The Tigers hit the practice fields again today and
Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
#4 6-3, 204
View Full Profile will be moving around like a miracle man. However, he will not take a snap in any type of live action the entire spring. This leaves a three-way battle between Nick SchuesslerNick Schuessler
RS So. Quarterback
#12 6-3, 195
View Full Profile and true freshmen Kelly BryantKelly Bryant
#2 6-4, 205
View Full Profile and Tucker IsraelTucker Israel
#10 6-0, 195
View Full Profile .
We saw last season that Watson is a guy that might be injury prone. Maybe the three injuries last year were a fluke, but maybe he could face injuries throughout his career.
If Watson does miss any time in a game, who is the next in line?
Part of me wants Schuessler to make a move and become the backup. If the staff felt comfortable with him getting you through a game it would make it easier to red-shirt both freshmen.
However, what if Schuessler is not the best option? What happens then?
I can see two scenarios playing out among the endless possibilities. My personal belief is that Bryant has a tremendous upside and may be the guy to take over once Watson's days are over. He is a big, strong athlete with great feet. His athleticism has some of the staff extremely excited about his upside.
At this point, Bryant is not a polished passer at the college level. That may come, but there is work to be done. But Bryant is a special runner at this point and I think staff could put in a package with him at quarterback that could get you through a game or two if Watson is out.
Israel is the more polished passer. However, he is small and has big adjustments to make on this level. He is a very bright kid that played in a complicated offense in high school where he threw it about 60 times a game. Can the staff put together a package where Israel can get you through a game or two if Watson gets injured?
In my opinion, the offense with Bryant as the quarterback looks different than an offense with Israel at the controls. Which one is better suited for the long term may take some time. But the priority now is to find out which one is better for the short term. Which one can get you through whatever time Watson would miss in a potential injury situation.
Could both red-shirt? Could both play?
One scenario that is not talked about enough is the idea of playing one or both this year and then red-shirting at another point in their careers. Many assume Watson will be gone after the 2016 season. That may be the case, or it may not. A lot will happen before that decision can be made. So if one or both play this season, one or both could red-shirt next year if the staff feels one may be the long term successor to Watson.
Today is the second day of many practices to figure these things out.
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