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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Quarterback Controversy in Death Valley

Clemson football has a problem on their hands. Earlier this week Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney announced that the team would be benching senior quarterback Kelly Bryant, choosing to start highly touted freshman Trevor Lawrence.

As the starter last year, Bryant led the team to an 11-1 regular season record and a loss to Alabama in the national championship. He threw for 2,802 with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, and also tacked on 66 rushing yards with 11 touchdowns. Not too shabby right? You would think that he would be the clear-cut starter heading into the year but then entered sunshine AKA Trevor Lawrence. Lawrence was the number one pocket passing quarterback in his class. He had a tremendous amount of hype surrounding him heading to Clemson as many felt he will be as good or better than Deshaun Watson.

After training camp concluded in Death Valley, Swinney announced that Kelly Bryant would be retaining the starting job. Bryant never received 100% of the snaps in the four games he started, intermittently ceding snaps to Lawrence. But After week four Swinney decided to go full send and start freshman phenom, Trevor Lawrence.

Dabo is like a panicking adult with a midlife crisis, leaving his wife for the younger more attractive girl. Bryant didn’t waste any time; as soon after it was announced that he would be second string, he decided he would be transferring, leaving the program and pressure in Lawrence’s hands.

But things haven’t gone as planned for Dabo and the Tigers since. On Saturday in the first half of his first start against Syracuse, Trevor Lawrence suffered a concussion and was out for the game. Leaving the fate of the Tigers in the hands of third stinger Travis Etienne. Syracuse led for a good portion of the game, but Clemson’s defense was able to come up with some big stops to avoid the upset.

Highly touted freshman quarterbacks taking experienced starters jobs has been a recent trend in college football. We saw this last year when Georgia QB Jacob Eason was benched in favor of highly ranked freshman QB Jake Fromm. Eason ended up transferring to the University of Washington. Georgia now has the same problem on their hands as they have freshman quarterback Justin Fields who was the number one recruit in his class and has been receiving playing time and doing well.

The question for Clemson football is where do they go from here? With Bryant taking classes at Clemson because he has to graduate to transfer, does Dabo hit Bryant with that “you up” text? Dabo is that guy that dumped his girlfriend and now has to ask her a week later for a huge favor. If Bryant were to come back, he would need some guarantees that I don’t think Dabo would be able to grant. He’s that ex that always lets you down and consistently flakes. You’ve got a decision here Dabo. Choose wisely.

– Jackson

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