Practice Observations: Lawrence runs with first-team offense
|Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 4:11 PM- -|
CLEMSON – The final practice of fall camp was held Tuesday afternoon in Jervey Meadows and head coach Dabo Swinney allowed the media to watch the first five periods of the session.
Classes start Wednesday and the Tigers will begin preparations for the Sept. 1 season opener against Furman Thursday.
We have a few notes and nuggets to pass along from the early part of the session. Note: There won’t be as many as usual because we have about a 45-minute turnaround time from when we were told to leave practice and have to be back for post-practice interviews.
*I will start with the quarterbacks, and there is intel on all four of them. It’s practice, and I’ve learned that we shouldn’t read a whole lot into a session where the offense isn’t facing the defense. But……….Trevor Lawrence took the first snaps with the first-team offense. Lawrence and Bryant split snaps after that, so it may have just been a case where it was Trevor’s turn to go first.
Lawrence didn’t surprise me in anything he did. He makes all the throws and makes them look easy. Following one drill, he casually side-armed a ball towards the practice net, and it landed in the pocket. Just a flick of the wrist and it rifled in there. Yes, it drew a lot of attention.
Bryant was accurate today, especially on some of the deeper seam routes. As good as Lawrence is, there were back-to-back throws where Lawrence’s missed the tight end and landed three yards in the dirt behind his intended target. Bryant stepped in and made the same throw look easy one snap later, hitting a tight end in stride about 35 yards down the field.
I will also say this – I believe Dabo Swinney when he says he can win right with Chase Brice. Brice has arm talent and it looks like he has a good grasp of the offense. He doesn’t take a back to seat to anybody, which is kind of what we’ve heard all through camp.
Finally, about Ben Batson. I love his arm strength, and he looks like he is having a lot of fun out there. He can make all of the throws you need to make, and even though he is still learning the offense I can tell he’s gotten markedly better since the first practice. Clemson has a very good situation at quarterback right now.
As for my opinion – I still believe Swinney when he says we will find out the true starter once the games start. Someone is going to separate at that point.
*Cornerback Mark Fields was in yellow and walking gingerly. Not sure what the injury is.
*On kickoff return, tight end Milan Richard got tangled up with another player and ran into returner Tavien Feaster. It was a collision heard all over the practice field. Feaster bounced up, but Richard stayed on the ground while trainers attended. He later had ice on his left knee.
*Trevion Thompson has been listed at the 9-man receiver spot, but worked almost exclusively at the 5-man spot when I watched.
*Justyn Ross made a catch where he palmed the ball, one-handed, on the sideline. He’s a grown man who happens to be a freshman. He made the catch and even his teammates merely shook their heads.
*Jake Venables impressed on special teams. He is a dynamo out there. Also, Tanner Muse just looks bigger, faster, and stronger. You look at some of the athletes on this team and walk away shaking your head. Another standout was freshman Baylon Spector.
*Kicker Greg Huegel was practicing kickoffs and wasn’t wearing a knee brace. We’ve heard that he’s separated in fall camp, and he looks like he is ready to go.
*Watching the coaches practice the read-option, quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter played the part of the defensive end, making the quarterback read his intentions.
*More to come after we speak with the coaches after practice.