Sunday Night Update: Swinney says both QBs to play at Texas A&M


by - Senior Writer -
Kelly Bryant runs for a touchdown Saturday against Furman
Kelly Bryant runs for a touchdown Saturday against Furman

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney reiterated Sunday evening that No. 2 Clemson will use two quarterbacks Saturday at Texas A&M.

Swinney addressed members of the media in his weekly Sunday evening teleconference to take a final look at the 48-7 victory over Furman and look ahead to the matchup versus Texas A&M in College Station, TX.

"I am really pleased after watching the tape. Kind of what I thought I was going to see but it was good to verify,” Swinney said. “Defensively I thought we played really well the entire time. We ended up playing 80-something people overall. They played with such consistency. We had a lot of new people show up and take advantage of opportunities.

"The freshmen, I thought, all flashed. It's a strong freshmen group. Offensively, I felt like we really got it rolling. We had some miscues early and missed some plays, but settled in and did what we needed to do. We had some explosive plays and good runs. The biggest thing was no turnovers, no sacks. The one penalty was very encouraging, especially with a lot of people playing, including three quarterbacks.

"Just pleased with the overall performance and the first game. You have to play well and I thought we did that. We came out of it pretty healthy. It's something hopefully we can build on. A good start for us. Hopefully, we can improve and get better as we go.”

The Tigers enter the new week relatively healthy.

"Injury-wise, the only guy that really got dinged up and may be questionable is Jordan Williams,” Swinney said. “But nothing serious or long term."

Swinney said he expects to see both Kelly Bryant and Trevor Lawrence play at College Station.

“We'll definitely play both. There is no question about that,” Swinney said. “Nothing happened Saturday to warrant not playing both. What needs to happen from Trevor's standpoint is for him to do what he's done. He needs to focus on what he can control, have his eyes on the right things. It's a whole different animal here. In order to continue to have an opportunity to play, you need to play well. Just focus on the things that matter in order to execute. Getting signals in, processing the right things, protections and execution and playing within our system. I don't expect him to be anything different than what he's been, but it'll be a new experience for him."

He then declined to give the Aggies a hint about how the quarterbacks will be used.

"We'll see as the week goes. I certainly wouldn't lay out what our plan was before we went into a game,” Swinney said. “You'd like to have some secrecy before you face an opponent. I will just tell you both will play. We'll keep it internal as far as how we'll manage it."

Swinney was asked about Lawrence’s arm strength and he said it’s easy to fall in love with the arm.

"I just think he's a great talent. He's a true freshman coming in who is very skilled,” he said. “It's easy to fall in love with his arm. To me, that's great but that's not what makes him special. What makes him special is his ability to process things, his football IQ, he's such a good preparer, a good, focused guy. Those things have given him a chance to compete. It's also exciting to have a guy like Kelly Bryant who has been a great example for him, a good model for him."

On Lyn-J Dixon

"He's a relentless runner and has a great desire to not be tackled. He breaks tackles. He did that all fall camp. He broke a lot of long runs in our camp. He's just a desperate runner. I'm excited about his potential. He's another outstanding freshman in this class. I wasn't surprised to see him break one. I think he was overwhelmed early. I didn't see anyone catch him at all in fall camp. What a great start for him."

The leadership in the quarterback room

“It starts with Kelly. He is a great leader. He has gone out of his way to help Trevor and Chase Brice. You have one senior and two freshmen sitting in the room. Kelly has taken it upon himself to help those guys. Kelly knows that we have talented guys in that room and they all want to play. It's refreshing to see guys compete hard but not lose their sense of who they are and see the big picture. Trevor is a highly recruited guy but is such a humble young man. He has great respect for Kelly. It has been good to see both guys compete but also have great respect for one another."

Amari Rodgers at punt return

"He's off to a good start. He has done a great job. Adam Humphries was here. He had a 109-yarder the other night in the NFL, so he has been good. Ray-Ray (McCloud) struggled early as far as being consistent catching the ball. You'll continue to see him do well at the next level. Amari has a lot of confidence catching the ball. He has been very consistent. The number one job is to possess the ball, so he's been great there. He also makes plays with the ball. And he's done that at receiver, too. We felt like he would be impactful. I hope that will play out that he'll be as good as we've had."

Will he say anything to the freshmen about playing at Texas A&M?

"Yes. Oh yes. We'll talk about their environment and what they can expect. If external factors determine your performance, you'll never be a good player. What determines what you do is your preparation, your technique. It shouldn't be about where we play and the noise there. Those things shouldn't determine your performance. Let's focus on what we can control."

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