Spring Insider: Trevor Lawrence impressive, Huegel kicking again
|Monday, March 26, 2018, 8:13 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Spring break has ended and spring practice is back in session.
The Clemson football team returned to practice for the first time in 12 days Monday, and we have plenty of news and notes to pass along. I’ll start with co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, who had the statement of the night when he was asked about the progression of freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
A few weeks ago, Scott said that Lawrence reminded him of his two-year-old daughter, saying that sometimes young people have to learn something is hot by touching something and getting burned. He compared that to Lawrence, who tested his arm strength against faster defenders early in camp and was burned more than once.
It seems Lawrence is learning those lessons. Scott was asked if Lawrence is on the same level as Deshaun Watson was four years ago, and Scott didn’t hesitate with his answer.
"Yes," Scott answered. "He's picking things up quickly. He doesn't look like a freshman who showed up in January."
"Nolan Turner got hurt in the scrimmage," Swinney said. "That puts us down [depth-wise]. He was having a really good spring, and he is going to have shoulder surgery so he will be out the rest of spring. He will be back sometime this summer."
Swinney said that Isaiah Simmons is crosstraining heavily at nickel SAM linebacker and at safety to help with the loss of depth with Turner. The coaches love what they are seeing out of Simmons at both spots, and Simmons told me he was on his way to talk to defensive coordinator Brent Venables about a switch but Venables made the first move.
*Scott was asked about the tight ends, and he raved about Garrett Williams. Scott said that Williams is playing better than he was before the injury and is confident in everything.
*We spoke with Tee Higgins, and I asked him about basketball. He said he misses playing the game, but his heart was broken when Duke lost to Kansas Sunday in the Elite Eight.
“Man, yeah I miss it but my team lost last night, Duke, but it is what it is,” Higgins said. “I just love Duke. I don’t know, Coach K is one of those coaches you have to watch, I just grew up liking him.”
I asked him if he attended Clemson’s home game against Duke a month ago, and he said yes. Who did he pull for?
“Oh, come on now, I was pulling for Duke,” Higgins said. “When my guys scored I felt happy for them too.”
The good news out of practice comes from kicker Greg Huegel, who is recovering from a knee injury suffered last fall.
Huegel kicked a 46-yard field goal to close practice, and he was happy when he spoke to the media after practice. Huegel told us he doesn’t feel any pain and was ecstatic about getting back on the field. Swinney said Alex Spence has been sensational thus far and looks like the kicker they recruited.
*There are no plans to make the quarterbacks live during spring practice. The quarterbacks were made live a few times last spring while the coaching staff tried to figure out what Kelly Bryant and Hunter Johnson could do.
Swinney was then asked if he would like to name a starter at quarterback by the end of spring practice, and Swinney said the Tigers have a starter – Kelly Bryant. He said the only announcement that would be made would be if someone took the job away from Bryant.