Israel states his case in quarterback battle
|Thursday, April 13, 2017, 3:11 PM- -|
Head coach Dabo Swinney split up the quarterbacks for last week’s Orange and White Game and had Bryant and Israel on the orange team and Cooper and Johnson running the white team offense. While all four quarterbacks had their moments, it was Israel who really opened the eyes of the fans and maybe even the coaches.
Israel completed 13-of-19 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown to Trevion Thompson, and he told TigerNet after the game that he was pleased with his performance but knows he can’t put too much stock into one practice.
“It really wasn't just me. It was the offensive linemen. It was the receivers making plays,” Israel said last Saturday. “If there's a race, the best man is going to win no matter what. If it's Zerrick, Kelly or Hunter, good for them and they've worked hard. We're all working hard to get to that number one spot. It's not going to end today. I'm not going to win the job today and I'm not going to lose the job today. It was a good performance today. I'm overall just happy with myself, but there's always room to improve.”
The highlight of the day for Israel was the touchdown pass, but there’s plenty he said he can improve on.
“One throw I was pretty proud of was the touchdown to Trevion,” Israel said. “I've been working at it a lot. One I'd like to have back is probably the one over the middle where I forced it against Tampa 2 coverage where I should've just hit a check down. Other than that, I'm pretty happy with my performance.”
The Orlando native set six Florida state passing records and broke Tim Tebow’s state record for passing touchdowns in a year with 56 touchdowns – 10 more than the former University of Florida quarterback. Israel said the secret to playing quarterback is to take what you can get.
“Just take what the defense gives you. That's how I play every day,” he said. “Take what the defense gives you and don't try to force too much down field and take the little things. Dink and dunk down the field and try to get some points for your team.”
With spring practice, now over it’s time for Israel to take what he’s learned and continue to hone his skills to put himself in the best position possible to be Clemson’s starting quarterback on September 2nd.
“Personally, I feel like I can always do better, but that's just me being hard on myself,” he said. “We had a great quarterback here before in Deshaun, so there's a lot to live up to. Whoever the starting quarterback is at this university, there's always something we can improve on. I feel like I did a decent enough job but there's always room for improvement. We'll see how the summer goes and I'll continue to work.”
However, if he doesn’t get the job, he’s still thankful to be able to play the game he loves every day.
“It's fun every time I get the opportunity to get out of bed and be able to play this great game of football,” he said. “I'm very blessed every time I get the opportunity to wake and be able to throw the ball and enjoy the game I love to play.”