Clemson QBs have coaches smiling in close camp battle
Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence each did their part in a dominant day for the offense in Saturday's scrimmage.

Clemson QBs have coaches smiling in close camp battle

by - Staff Writer -

CLEMSON - Jeff Scott saw a glimpse Saturday of the Clemson offense he and fellow co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott are looking to restore this season.

Scott recalled 13 explosive plays total for Saturday’s scrimmage - nine coming in the passing game, an area he has challenged his receiver group to improve on in 2018. All the while, a close three-way battle at quarterback among senior Kelly Bryant and freshmen Chase Brice and Trevor Lawrence saw few mistakes: committing zero turnovers on the day.

So where does that group stand through a week-plus of camp?

“I think it just brings a smile to your face,” Scott said of the QB battle. “It really does. Sometimes you may have a quarterback competition and you're hoping you can find one who can help you win. I think our situation is we feel like right now we have three we can win with. It really would not be a drastic change (with any of the QBs). We have that at other positions as well…That's really what coach Swinney and our staff is trying to build from a recruiting standpoint.

“That every starter’s got to come back and compete with the young guys coming in. That's really where you want to get to. Already through one week of fall camp, we feel very confident that we have three quarterbacks that we can go win with. Now it's fun to watch those guys continue to compete here for the next three weeks to see who gets to run out there first.”

Per Scott, Kelly led Clemson out of the gates Saturday with a number of completions, including a touchdown pass to Amari Rodgers to help set the tempo for the offense’s success. Both Bryant and Brice totaled a pair of touchdown throws and Lawrence made his mark in the explosive passes with “some big-time throws.”

When asked about how much experience factors into the competition - Bryant coming off some ups-and-downs leading Clemson back to the Playoff last year - Scott reiterated head coach Dabo Swinney’s philosophy

“Usually experience is definitely a factor,” Scott said. “Coach Swinney says all the time that he doesn't mind playing a freshman or a sophomore. But if it's a senior and a guy with experience, it's got to be a knockout shot because that guy has been there and has the experience and been through the battles…

“We have a saying around here that 'Best is the standard.' We're going to need to find out who the best is. I'm just proud of how the guys are competing and helping each other. We've got really good chemistry. It's a good type of competitiveness and competition going on. Definitely not (just) a bunch of individuals.”

When a starter is penciled in on a depth chart or announced in a press conference before the Furman season opener, Scott cautions not to read too far into its effect on the season to come - at any position.

“That's where we're going to be offensively is that it's going to be so close at several positions,” Scott said. “It's not like we're going to have some firm depth chart the Thursday before Furman and it's going to stay the way all year long. Coach Swinney has done a great job that part of our culture is competing every day and that best is the standard.

“And the way that we've been very fortunate to recruit very well - if you don't bring it one day, you're going to get passed by. Coach Swinney has already shown that this staff is not afraid to move the next guy up and give him opportunities. When you have that culture, that keeps the backups going and working.”

More notes from Scott:

Scrimmage overview

Scott: We always talk about if we can get off to a fast start - that really helps us the rest of the day. I felt like our tempo was much better. I felt like our guys did a good job of putting pressure on the defense. And we had a lot of explosive plays - 13 explosive plays. Nine receiving and four on the ground. I really felt like all three quarterbacks played well. I know Kelly (Bryant) had two big touchdown throws and Chase Brice had two touchdown throws. Trevor (Lawrence) had a bunch of explosive plays. I can't remember off the top of my head if he had a touchdown pass or not. Made some big-time throws. All three of those guys were very consistent. Very pleased. I think we only had one sack on the day. I'm pleased with the guys upfront and the pass protection. Receiver-wise, we had a lot of guys make some big plays...

Overall, I was pleased. I think the biggest negative was our short-yardage. Had a few reps down there at the goalline and we didn't get a chance to finish the right way. And that's something that obviously we'll go in and look at and correct. I'm really pleased with where we are right now but we're not where we need to be for three weeks from now. But we've got a couple more days to get there. As far as first fall scrimmage, it was probably one of the better ones I've been a part of.

Quality depth shows in scrimmage

Scott: Our goal - we talked about our very first night offensively - we have 72 people in that room and I think we had 54 offensive players and 18 coaches...It will take all 72 of us to get through. The last three years we've played 15, 15 and 14 games. Forty-four games in three years. There's some teams that haven't gone to bowls who have played that in four years. That's a long year. We're going to need everybody and that's kinda that mentality. You see a guy like Mitch Hyatt at left tackle trying to bring on the next guy behind him. He knows it's going to be a long year and he may get banged up and that standard should not change. Again, that's something I was proud to see in the scrimmage (Saturday). There was not a lot of difference between the Orange group and the Purple group as far as production moving up and down the field.

Clemson on track for ‘best’ standard on both sides of ball

Scott: You really know what you're going to get when you get out there. I would say we've been really consistent through the first week of practice. As coaches we were optimistic going into the scrimmage because we've been able to move the ball...I'm proud of these guys and the way they're working. There's no doubt we've got a talented defense - and those guys over there - it's a challenge every day.

Offensively, our guys have some pride too. That they can go out and play. They were all recruited as the best players in the country. We want to have the best defense and the best offense. That's why we come to work every day. That's our goal. Today (Saturday) was a step forward. We'll have things to correct. But pleased overall with today (Saturday).

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