Clemson has rotated its backup quarterbacks pretty evenly since Kelly Bryant was injured against Wake Forest on Oct. 7 and was unable to finish the game.
Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson split time against the Demon Deacons before Cooper received all of the backup snaps the following week against Syracuse when Bryant was injured late in the first half.
Two weeks ago, against Georgia Tech, it was Johnson that came into the game late as the Tigers had a comfortable lead.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Wednesday after practice that it will depend on the situation as far as who the first guy off the bench is. Swinney added that he will go with quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter’s recommendation.
“It’s pretty much status quo there. Street’s comfortable with both of them,” Swinney said. “It’s kind of a situational thing depending on where we are in a game, what’s going on, who we’re playing, what’s going to be needed in that situation.”
Swinney hinted that Johnson was not as far along in the playbook as he needed to be a month ago against Syracuse, but the true freshman has made progress since then.
“At Syracuse there was pressure every play, and just felt like Zerrick had the best command of what we’re doing. Hunter’s much improved, but he’s still grasping everything,” Swinney said. “Whereas against Georgia Tech, not near as much pressure and a little bit more of a running situation and things he was a little more comfortable with.”
Swinney said that it was Streeter’s decision to play Cooper against Syracuse and to play Johnson against Georgia Tech, and Streeter will continue to make the decision moving forward.
“Listen, I trust Street. He’s a heck of a coach. That’s why I hired him, to coach quarterbacks… I want him to be in command of his room. I think that’s important,” Swinney said. “He’s got a great feel for those guys, especially where they are maturity wise, mentally. If something happens the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to say, ‘Street, what you got?’ And he’s going to tell me and that’s what I’m going to do. And then if something doesn’t go right in the game you make a decision, but that’s why you hire these guys.”