Sunday, September 23, 2018

Schaible: Like it or not, Swinney has another great quarterback in Trevor Lawrence

Photo Credit: Scott Cunningham- Getty Images

By: Brian Schaible
Twitter: @SBNationReports

Whether Clemson Tigers coach Dabo Swinney wants to admit it or not, he has another superstar quarterback in Trevor Lawrence.

After starter Kelly Bryant struggled to move the ball in the opening quarter, Lawrence came in and casually tossed three touchdowns before halftime.

And when third string quarterback Chase Brice threw a late interception, and Georgia Tech closed to within 21 points, no worries, just put Trevor back in the game.

I remember seeing a cut away on the Jumbotron at about eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Bryant and Lawrence were chuckling with each other on the sideline. There’s most definitely no animosity between the two dual threat signal callers. And when Swinney instructed Lawrence to check back in the game late, everybody at Bobby Dodd stadium in Atlanta, Ga., knew what was about to happen.

Five plays and 77 yards later, Clemson further solidified a dominant road conference win. The freshman phenom added a fourth touchdown pass as he hit Tee Higgins for a 30-yard strike to put a bow on the 49-21 victory.

“I’m excited for every game but it was exciting just to know that a bunch of family and close friends were here watching,” Lawrence said. “It felt good (to get back into the game). I felt a little tight and I didn’t know if I was going back in for sure. But we went out there for a few plays and scored. So, it was good.”

As well as Lawrence has performed, the sensational sophomore known by teammates as ET, has been truly out of this world.

In the last two games, Travis Etienne averaged over ten yards per carry while picking up three rushing touchdowns. Today, he also picked up his first ever receiving touchdown as a Clemson Tiger.

Etienne talked about his determination and fierce relentlessness around the endzone.

“This is a mentality that Coach E (Tony Elliott) instilled in us. A mentality we have, like the ability to work on a that throughout practice and just trying to win the game,” Etienne said. “I’m just glad to be out there in that situation to put up points for my team.”

While there’s no doubt who the leader of the running backs is as Swinney is a bit more non-committal when it comes to the quarterback position.

“I thought Trevor came in and did a nice job. He threw four touchdown passes and really gave us some great energy,” Swinney said. “He checked to the first touchdown and that was something we practiced all week. It was something we practiced all week and he did a great job.”

The undefeated Syracuse Orange come to town on Sept. 29. It was last October when Eric Dungey’s three touchdowns led the Orange to an improbable victory over the then-defending national champions. Dungey is back and looking better than ever. But just who will get the start for Clemson?

“We’re not going to set depth charts in postgame press conferences,” Swinney said.

Let the uncertainty build over the next week as the Tigers face arguably their toughest test yet with the Orange.