Bryant to start at Nuk's old position on the boundary?

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Junior receiver Martavis BryantMartavis Bryant
Jr. Wide Receiver
#1 6-5, 200
Calhoun Falls, SC

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told reporters Saturday evening that he was getting reps with the starting group at the “9”, or boundary, receiver position early on in camp, the same position manned by DeAndre HopkinsDeAndre Hopkins
Wide Receiver
#6 6-2, 205
Central, SC

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Hopkins over the last three seasons.

The news raised more than a few eyebrows with the assembled media – the Clemson coaching staff moved Sammy WatkinsSammy Watkins
Jr. Wide Receiver
#2 6-1, 205
Fort Myers, FL

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to that spot in the spring, away from his customary slot or “2” receiver position, and we were told it was an effort to create more 1-on-1 matchups for the Tigers’ dynamic playmaker.

Following Clemson’s second practice – yes it’s early in the process – Bryant said that Watkins had moved back to the slot and he was getting reps at the boundary. However, offensive coordinator Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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said that Bryant was seeing reps at all of the positions, as was Watkins.

Where does the truth lie? Probably somewhere right down the middle. Wide receivers coach Jeff ScottJeff Scott
Asst. Coach (WR) / Recruiting Coord.
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told me at head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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’s golf outing a few weeks ago that the plans for Watkins had changed a little, and that the coaching staff wanted to get Watkins in the matchup on game days, and that means he would play all over the field depending on where the best matchup happened to be that day.

“These guys have all been here for three years, and one thing this did was give guys the opportunity to play other positions,” Scott said. “Injuries are a big part of the game, and just having everybody taking one position you might not have your best guys out on the field. Sammy has learned the “2” man position over the last couple of years but spent the entire spring at “9” and that is a key position for our offense. And that speaks a lot about our confidence in Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Jr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 190
Spartanburg, SC

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to play that “2” man position. And I fully expect Sammy to play a little bit of both and you will see guys moving around and guys will be locked into one position all year. I think guys will continue to move around and we will try and find the best matchup out on the field.

“But there are lots of things that could change. It would be very easy if we decided to move Sammy back to the” 2”. Those will be things we will continue to look at. This summer, they continued to move themselves around to the different positions. Going into a game, if we see that the opposition might be weaker at the field than they are at the boundary, we could change things around. With young guys, you might not want to do that. But you can do that with these that have been in the system for three years. It is all about getting mismatches and getting your best guys out on the field against their weaker guys. It is a chess game.”

Morris quipped Saturday evening that Watkins was even playing offensive line, while Bryant is cross-training at multiple positions as well.

“Sammy is all over the field. He is in the boundary, to the field, in the slot, tailback, quarterback and center,” Morris said. “Martavis has been all over the field. We are just placing them all over the field right now to try and find the right combination. You have guys that are in their third year in the system, so you have to push the envelope a little bit.”

I asked Bryant about getting reps with the first team, and he said it was a reflection of the work he has put in.

“I have been studying. I have been working on getting faster and stronger,” he said. “I have had a lot of time to reflect back on my life, and I decided I wanted to do this and that I wanted to be here.”
The turnaround came when Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney left Bryant at home for the Chick-fil-A Bowl after Bryant missed study hall. Watching his team play without him was painful for Bryant, and led to a more mature player during the spring and summer.

“I’ve been more committed and more focused on being a team player,” Bryant. “I’ve been getting all of the trouble out of my life. Not being able to go to the bowl game and letting my family down…I had to look at my life. It was very painful. I was supposed to be there to help the team. But that is behind me now.”

Bryant has drawn rave reviews over the summer, and no matter where he line ups – the best guess is that he gets most of his snaps out at the boundary – quarterback Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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says he feels like he can trust Bryant.

“I know if I see him out there that I can throw it to him and he is going to do everything he can to go up and try and catch the ball,” Boyd said Friday evening. “He has had an amazing summer and has committed himself to getting better every day. I believe he is really going to help us in a big way this season.”

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