Swinney on Watson: He'll play when he's ready
|Friday, July 25, 2014 2:50 PM- -|
GREENSBORO, NC – Clemson head coach
Dabo Swinney How soon will
Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson At the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro earlier this week, Swinney was once again bombarded with questions from the assembled media about the former 5-star prospect who arrived on campus back in January and made a huge impression during spring practice.
View Full Profile and offensive coordinator Chad Morris Chad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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#4 6-3, 190
View Full Profile play? When will he be a starter? How soon before he takes over for senior Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
#18 6-4, 205
View Full Profile ? Will a 1-2 start by the Tigers mean that a change is coming at quarterback?
How soon will
Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
At the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro earlier this week, Swinney was once again bombarded with questions from the assembled media about the former 5-star prospect who arrived on campus back in January and made a huge impression during spring practice.
In 56 games at Gainesville (GA) High School, Watson’s numbers were incredible. For his career, Watson was 939-of-1458 for 13,077 yards and 155 touchdowns with 29 INT; He had 618 carries for 4,057 yards and 59 touchdowns as a runner. As a senior, he was 273-of-412 for 3,775 yards and 47 touchdowns with eight interceptions. On the ground, he carried the ball 143 times for 1,057 yards and 14 touchdowns. An added bonus – he also had two receiving touchdowns as a senior and had three for his career.
During Swinney’s session with the league’s writers, one reporter leaned in and asked Swinney about Watson, but reminded everyone within earshot that Watson would be the starter only when he was completely ready.
“Deshaun has the qualities to be a special football player,” Swinney said. “He will be if he stays healthy – he’ll be a great player in this league for several years. Just like how I knew
Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
Quarterback (2009 - 2013)
#10 6-1, 225
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Quarterback (2008 - 2010)
#11 6-1, 200
View Full Profile and when Kyle Parker was the starter – we had to bring Tajh along, and when he was ready – he was ready.”
Swinney then slipped in the caveat that Watson was ahead of where Boyd was at the same stage in their careers.
“I think Deshaun is way ahead of where Tajh was as a true freshman,” Swinney said. “It’s not even close because of the background and doing what we do. As far as how that translates to the season? I don’t know.”
The quarterback competition – once expected to be a three-way battle among Stoudt, Watson and
Chad KellyChad Kelly
RS Fr. Quarterback
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View Full Profile – took a strange twist following the spring game when Kelly was dismissed from the program for conduct detrimental to the team.
Swinney was quick to note that Stoudt has earned the job as the starter, and that Watson will push Stoudt enough to keep the senior at the top of his game.
“Cole earned the job hands-down this spring, clearly was the starter and has done nothing to lose that,” Swinney said. “But he also knows just because he was named the starter in spring that he can't go out and play like a dog in practice and throw a bunch of interceptions and all that. There’s no lifetime contract. The quarterback is no different than left guard or defensive tackle. Every day you have a competitive situation – you have to perform.”
So, what would be a “perfect world” scenario for Watson’s freshman season?
“I think if everything went well – Cole plays at the level we expect him to,” Swinney said. “That’d be great to bring along a young guy like that and get him some experience instead of throwing him in the fire. You play the hand that you’re dealt.”