It sounds more and more each day like Kelly Bryant will be the starting quarterback for Clemson when the Tigers open the season on Sept. 2 against Kent State.
“Unless something just totally goes crazy he’s probably going to be the guy to run out there,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said after Wednesday’s practice.
But that doesn’t mean true freshman Hunter Johnson and redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper are struggling.
Swinney likes what he has seen from his young quarterbacks and said the key is for them to be more consistent.
“I think those two are both still right there. They both do some good things and then they’ll both make a mistake that you’ll just scratch your head on, but they’re freshmen. I understand that,” Swinney said. “We’ve just got to keep putting them in those situations. But they both have made some huge, explosive plays.”
The problem for Johnson and Cooper is that too many times after an explosive play in practice it has been followed up by a mistake such as forgetting to send a guy in motion or taking a sack on a sprint out play.
“It’s some little things like that that they’ve got to continue to grow through, but that’s our job is to put them in those situations, to expose them on the practice field,” Swinney said. “We’re trying to expose these guys so then if they’re coachable they’ll go get better and grow from it so when we do get ready to play and that scoreboard’s lit up for real they’ve learned from that. That’s what we’ve done and I think both of those guys have done a good job.”
Even if Bryant is the starter it sounds like the competition will continue over into the regular season, and how the quarterbacks perform in games will be very important.
“If (Kelly) is the guy he’s got to go do it on game day,” Swinney said. “Zerrick and Hunter are coming. It’s just going to continue to go, and at some point the next step is go perform in the games.”