Ferocious Dog: Quarterback guru says don't overlook Kelly Bryant
|Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 8:24 AM- -|
Most of the buzz surrounding the quarterback competition headed into Clemson’s spring practice centers on redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and true freshman Hunter Johnson. But it wouldn’t be wise to overlook rising junior Kelly Bryant.
Quarterback guru Ramon Robinson of RRElite QB Academy has worked with some of the top quarterbacks in the nation, and he told TigerNet Monday that it wouldn’t be wise to overlook Bryant, the former Wren standout who has waited patiently behind Deshaun Watson.
“We went through a solid off-season, training once a week. The most improvement that I've seen from is his leadership in regards to taking over as the next guy up, as they say,” Robinson said. “I've seen a whole different guy from before as a guy who has been in the background awaiting his opportunity. Nobody ever wants to be the guy in the background. It's one of those situations that you have to deal with as a quarterback. What people don't understand is there's only one quarterback that can play at a time. When this whole recruiting thing goes on, you can bring in a million 5-star quarterbacks, 4-stars or 3-stars but at the end of the day, only one guy can get on the field.
“That's the difference between playing receiver, running back and tight end. There's a cycle of guys playing. What I've seen from him now is that whole glow about himself that I haven't seen in a while. He's all smiles and laughs. I've seen a period where he's been dull. Not so much that he couldn't do it, but everybody has to take that bite and swallow that pill because they've got to sit. That's a hard pill to swallow when you're guy that's been the man and everybody been has been the man at their high school and you have to come in and you sit your time regardless of you think you're better or you know you're better. It's just a matter of you have to wait your time.”
Bryant has played in 12 games during his two-year Clemson career, but he hasn’t thrown a pass in six of those games. After playing in eight games in 2015, he played in just four this past season and threw a pass in just two of those after settling into the third spot on the depth chart behind Nick Schuessler.
Over his two seasons, he’s completed 13-of-18 passes for 75 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. On the ground, however, he has 35 rushes for 178 yards and three scores.
Cooper and Johnson will push Bryant this spring, but Robinson says the competition will only make Bryant better.
“When I'm talking to him, we don't get into talking about who's coming in and who's gone. We talk more about how can I make Kelly Bryant better and how can Kelly Bryant get better,” he said. “Competition is going to be competition, and that's just where it is. It doesn't matter if Kelly is at another college or wherever, the same situation is going on across the country, not just at Clemson University. When you're a true ball player, you don't worry about the competition that's coming in. You deal with the competition as you deal with it on the field and in the classroom with your team.
“He just attacks it a different way because some people can get into their feelings when it comes to stuff like that. At the end of the day, these guys still have to compete and be teammates regardless of who has the job. Kelly is up now, and he's going to continue to battle until the end. We don't talk about who they have coming in. We talk about, 'Hey, you're up next. Get your mind focused to lead the Clemson Tigers. Get your mind focused on being a leader. Get your mind focused on why you came to Clemson University.'”
Robinson said he sees what is written about Bryant by some media outlets, on message boards, and in social media and tries to keep Bryant focused on what’s important.
“I see the stuff and that's why I'm here. I'm the coach, mentor and uncle. I read that stuff because that's not for him to read. I keep him out that,” Robinson said. “That's one thing I don't allow him to do. That's not so much what I don't allow, it also comes from his parents. Stay out of the media. We all know that media is good and bad. Kelly Bryant is a quarterback that Clemson University recruited. He was a very outstanding quarterback coming out of high school. This guy is here to compete. He's here to compete in every form and fashion. Give him an opportunity to be himself. From what I hear and see on the radio and the message boards, Kelly hasn't gotten an opportunity to truly lead the Clemson Tigers in a way for him to say that he can do it or he can't do it. Clemson just had a two-time Heisman finalist in Deshaun Watson, so don't think that Kelly can't do it just because he came in the game and just ran.”
He then said that everyone would found out that Bryant won’t back down from the challenge, comparing him to a ferocious dog.
“One thing you can't hold back is a dog. A ferocious dog will get away any way possible. You're not dealing with a poodle. You're not dealing with a guy that's going to back down,” he said. “You're dealing with a dog. You're dealing with a guy who has that inner drive to compete at every level. It's not about what he can't do. It's about what he's going to do. It's about what he's prepared to do. He uses the negativity as a positive power to make him better. For him, this season isn't about proving the media and everybody wrong; it's about his team and Clemson University. It's about being the leader of that team. That's who he has to prove to.”
Many question whether Bryant can throw the ball well enough to win and Robinson scoffs at that notion.
"For him, it's about his mental game. The things he needed to work on are just being confident in what's doing on the field. There isn't a throw that Kelly Bryant can't make on that field," Robinson said. "I know what he can do when he's given the opportunity. He can throw the ball. It's just matter of being accurate on a consistent basis and getting into a rhythm. As a quarterback, you have to be in a rhythm. Being in for a series here and there doesn't get you in rhythm. He was labeled a dual-threat quarterback because he threw for 4,000 yards and rushed for almost 1,500 yards in high school. It wasn't throwing tunnel screens.
"He threw the ball down the field. He's progressed, just like in high school when he kept getting better and better the more experience he got. It's the same thing I see that can happen at Clemson University with Kelly Bryant at quarterback once he gets the opportunity to settle in and be himself. Don't expect him to be Deshaun Watson, but if you want to expect something, expect to win."