Could Clemson use a platoon system at QB in 2017?
|Thursday, February 2, 2017, 3:00 PM- -|
CLEMSON - The old football adage says that if you have two quarterbacks you don’t have one, yet Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter and head coach Dabo Swinney say the Tigers won’t hesitate to play two quarterbacks in 2017.
Deshaun Watson is headed to the NFL and back-up Nick Schuessler has exhausted his eligibility, but veteran Kelly Bryant will attempt to hold off Tucker Israel, Zerrick Cooper and freshman Hunter Johnson in the spring. Freshman Chase Brice will be on campus this summer and join the fray.
The Tigers saw a platoon system first-hand in 2016 – Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn played multiple signal callers in Clemson’s 19-13 win over Auburn in the season opener. However, Swinney says he wouldn’t hesitate to play two.
“We're going to play the best players. If I've got a junior version of Deshaun Watson and a sophomore version of Deshaun Watson, then I'll play them both,” Swinney said in his Wednesday press conference. “Coach (Bear) Bryant used to do that all of the time. He would take Joe Namath out and throw Kenny Stabler in there. I don't have a problem with that. I've never had a problem with that.”
Streeter said the coaching staff would consider all options.
“Obviously, maybe Coach Swinney would be able to answer that better than I would, but in my opinion, I think if a guy deserves to play and has earned the right to be a guy that can play and has battled with someone else that is definitely not out of the question,” Streeter said. “There is definitely a thought process for us as coaches that if they have proven it in practice and in scrimmages and in a game and they deserve to at least push the guy or play equally with another guy then we would definitely be open-minded for that.”
Swinney brought up the point that other positions use multiple players at each position.
“Ideally, you'd like to have that clear cut guy, but sometimes you have very talented players, like at defensive end. You take Vic Beasley out and put in Shaq Lawson and nobody complained,” Swinney said. “I don't know why it's any different. If it's truly equal, then it can certainly be that way. You don't see it a ton at that position, but that's why Coach Bryant never had a Heisman at Alabama - he just rolled them.”
He then said that there are times when practice isn’t enough and players have to show what they can do under the stress of a game situation.
“There is nothing wrong with having a bunch of great players. If we have two guys that can win at a high level, I have no problem at all with it - if they are leaders and have all of the intangibles that you need,” Swinney said. “I just want to win. I've never bought into that. Usually, there is always a separation at some point. Sometimes in college football, which is what happened with us with Deshaun, you can only go so far in practice. We don't get pre-season games, and you have to play those games and watch it play out on the field. We'll just have to see.”