Dabo has strong message to fans who might boo a QB: They are all Clemson Tigers
|Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 12:19 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney sent a strong message to fans who might be pulling for one quarterback over another Saturday when Clemson opens the season against Furman: Pull for each player because they are all Clemson Tigers.
Starting quarterback Kelly Bryant heard boos during the spring game and a segment of the fan base wanted to see freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence take the first snaps against the Paladins Saturday.
Swinney says that booing a player who gives his all for the program is not a good look.
“It's really sad that some people may pull for somebody not to play well. They are Clemson Tigers and we should pull for these guys to play great,” Swinney said during his Tuesday press conference. “That is the way it should be. The best thing is they are in control of that and they are both prepared to do just that. I've never had a camp with this type of quarterback play. And I mean Chase Brice, too. It's a very healthy situation and I am pulling for them. When they run out there they are all Tigers. Quarterback, that is just where we are this year. We have talented guys that have earned the opportunity to play and we have to pull for them.
“I'm really proud of Kelly because you have to have thick skin when you play quarterback and you have so many people with opinions and agendas. They don't watch practice. They don't watch one tape and when they do they don't know what they're watching or what people are being asked to do or who's right or wrong. I've been really proud of him about how he's handled it. It's been a breath of fresh air because he's been locked in on himself. He's had an awesome camp. Three scrimmages he was 23-of-32 for 300-plus yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Just did a tremendous job. Played with both groups and didn't always play with the first group. He just came out on top from a grade standpoint. At some point you have to go play, so that's where we are.”
Swinney said Bryant won the job in camp, that it wasn’t given to him because of his status as a senior or as the returning starter.
“Last year it really wasn't close. It was very different. Kelly was trying to win the job and everybody was trying to win the job. It wasn't close. It was very clear cut and that's where we were,” Swinney said. “This year is different and now you've got a proven guy - a guy who started 14 games for you and won achampionship during his first year as a starter. People get better. People improve. I don't care where you start, guys improve and that's what happened with Kelly. He's had a tremendous year of prep since January. I've had a front row seat and had no idea how it was going to play out. Obviously, you bring a guy in here like Trevor Lawrence who is off the chart from a talent standpoint but you don't ever know until you start coaching a guy how that is going to translate.
“Guys can be really talented in high school but sometimes it takes a little longer to translate to this level. There's a lot going on, but he demonstrated this spring that he's one of those unique guys that has a unique talent but that he was absorbing it very well and he wasn't overwhelmed. He still made a lot of mistakes because it was a lot. Kelly was the clear winner in spring but it was also pretty obvious that we had a guy we thought was going to get better and that's how we went to camp and that's what we saw.”
However, Lawrence pushed Bryant in August.
“The flip side of that is Trevor did exactly what we thought he would do. He came back more in control of what was going on, a better knowledge base, and physically and mentally in a really good place,” Swinney said. “The game had slowed down for him. He has demonstrated a good command and he had a really good camp. Kelly was the most consistent and that is where we are. Kelly earned the opportunity to start, because someone has to run out there first. He has earned the opportunity to do that. Trevor has earned the opportunity to play. They will continue to compete and that is where we are. The best-case scenario is that they both play well.
“And I can't say enough about Kelly. He pulls for Trevor. And Trevor is one of the most low maintenance dudes I've been around. He looks like Hollywood but he is none of that. He shows up and does his job and it's yes sir and no sir. He loves his teammates and Chase (Brice) is the same way.”