Three lessons learned from Clemson’s blowout win over Furman

Trevor Lawrence

First things first, no matter what Dabo Swinney said last week, no one expected Furman to hang with the Tigers and in no way did the Southern Conference FCS squad test the Tigers in this pay day exhibition. That being said, there are still several things we can learn about Clemson from its 48-7 thrashing of the Paladins Saturday.

1. Trevor Lawrence is the future at quarterback for the Tigers

This is something anyone who followed Clemson already knew, but it’s something that was clearly confirmed Saturday. Lawrence entered the game in the second quarter, was 9-15 passing for 137 yards, 3 TDs and zero interceptions.

At times Lawrence looked like a true freshman – there was a miscommunication that resulted in a busted play, ending in a sack. But at times, the former 5-star recruit showed off exactly why he earned each of those stars, torching Georgia high schools en route to Death Valley.

Simply put, Lawrence has a canon for a right arm. The most impressive play he made was on an offsides call against Furman – Lawrence turned a free play into a long pass downfield on the run for a huge gain.

The zip and accuracy displayed already in the golden-haired 18-year-old’s throws are impressive. Which leads us to point number two.

2. Right now, the quarterback competition is still just that, a competition

Despite the high ceiling Lawrence presents, Kelly Bryant has done nothing to lose his job as starting quarterback. The steady handed Bryant clearly still has the support of coaches and teammates. A captain, Bryant is now 13-2 as a starter, with his only losses coming at Syracuse in a game he left due to injury and to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal last season.

Unlike Nick Saban and Alabama, Dabo Swinney has publicly embraced the quarterback battle, singing the praises of both his quarterbacks. For the next few weeks, if both players continue to succeed, Clemson’s best option may be utilizing some sort of two-quarterback system.

At a certain point, common sense says Swinney would have to choose a single starter, but until Lawrence or Bryant shows signs of struggling, expect both to play significant roles in the offense.

Swinney last saw a true quarterback competition at Clemson in 2014, and though Cole Stout didn’t have the experience or upside that Kelly Bryant has (Bryant has already won an ACC title and taken the Tigers to the CFP), Deshaun Watson, then highly-touted true freshman, was not named starter until after Clemson lost in overtime at Florida State. That game in Tallahassee was third game of the season.

Don’t expect Dabo to wait for a loss before turning the offense over to Trevor Lawrence.

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