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Miami

Dual quarterbacks working for Clemson

Sports Xchange
21 Sep 2018, 01:21 GMT+10

Two quarterbacks may indeed be better than one, particularly if they're posting similar numbers.

That certainly has proven to be the case through three games with Clemson quarterbacks Kelly Bryant, the graduate incumbent, and Trevor Lawrence, the highly regarded freshman.

Both players continue to share playing time, and co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott says he expects that to continue to be the case, possibly throughout the season.

"It's kind of eerie how similar those guys are," Scott said.

Bryant has completed 68 percent of his 44 passing attempts for 405 yards while Lawrence has completed 62 percent of his 42 attempts for 424 yards.

Bryant has rushed for 117 more yards than Lawrence, but Lawrence has passed for five touchdowns compared to Bryant's two.

"We look at it as an advantage," Scott said. "Right now we're good going with the way we've been going. If something changes, we'll adjust to that, but I look at it as a positive."

Bryant, who is 17-2 as a starter over the past two seasons, will get the start again Saturday when No. 3 Clemson (3-0) plays at Georgia Tech (1-2) despite missing the second half of the Tigers' win against Georgia Southern last week.

Bryant suffered a chest bruise just before halftime and did not return in the second half, but said early this week that he's fine.

"I'm full go," Bryant said. "I'm ready to play today. I feel like I'm 100 percent."

Still, Scott likes the fact that Lawrence already has gained valuable experience. The Tigers also have played No. 3 quarterback Chase Brice in two games this season, which further adds to Scott's comfort level.

"If it had been something where he (Bryant) was going to be out for a while, at least you're not telling the second quarterback who hasn't taken many reps all year, 'Alright, let's go. The season's yours,'" Scott said. "We've got two guys ready. So we like where we are."

As a bonus, the relationship between Bryant and Lawrence appears as solid as ever.

"Me and Kelly are still going to support each other and compete and get better," Lawrence said. "We're still on the same team, trying to accomplish the same goals."

NOTES

--WR Justyn Ross, a freshman, is playing like an elder statesman. Ross, who at 6-foot-4 provides a big target, scored his second touchdown of the season last week on a 57-yard catch-and-run and finished with 103 receiving yards on only three receptions. The top receiver in Alabama as a high school senior, Ross already is flashing his big-play potential and reminds coaches of former star Mike Williams.

--RB Travis Etienne finally received the lion's share of carries last week and responded with a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns. He's averaging 7.7 yards per carry this season and will be looking to build on that early success against a Georgia Tech defense that has proven rather porous in losses to South Florida and Pittsburgh. "He just sneaks up on you," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Etienne. "He's a special talent. If he touches it enough, something good is going to happen."

--QB Trevor Lawrence is a Georgia native who starred at Cartersville High School, which is about 45 minutes from Atlanta, so he'll have plenty of friends and family on hand for his return to his home state. "It definitely adds some excitement," Lawrence said. "And I'm feeling more comfortable. They've done a good job of playing me in important situations, so I feel like I'm prepared."

--DE Clelin Ferrell continues to see his draft stock soar. Ferrell had a sack in the Tigers' season-opening game against Furman, then followed that up with two sacks in each of the last two games, becoming the first Clemson player since Vic Beasley to have two sacks in consecutive games. His five sacks this season is tied for first in the FBS.

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