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Trevor Lawrence drops back to pass against Alabama

Trevor Lawrence drops back to pass against Alabama

Having difficult conversations with a player you love is the other side of being a college football coach, something that Brandon Streeter learned early last season during “The Week.”

Streeter, the former Clemson quarterback that now serves as the Clemson quarterbacks coach, recently spoke with TigerNet about the week when Trevor Lawrence became the starting quarterback, replacing senior Kelly Bryant in the starting lineup.

Lawrence, the freshman out of Cartersville, Ga., started the fifth game of the season and didn’t look back on his way to a stellar campaign that ended with a National Championship. Streeter said it was after game four – the game at Georgia Tech – when the coaches knew it was time for Lawrence to start.

“We had been monitoring the guys all year, and grading them, and continuing to evaluate them. It was a really simple process for us,” Streeter said. “It wasn’t anything too difficult. It was a matter of when Trevor is in there, here are the points that we’ve scored and here is the success we’ve had as a team. It was better than what Kelly was, and it was just as simple as that. In the Georgia Tech game, Trevor played well, and it was a situation where we all came together after that game.

“Coach (Dabo) Swinney mentioned it and we all agreed. There was no hesitation from anybody. And it wasn’t a situation where we were putting Kelly on the bench and telling him he wasn’t playing at all. We explained it to him and gave him exactly how we evaluated it and told him exactly what our plan was. That is how it happened. But everything goes back to earning the right to play, and we all believed Trevor had earned the right to play.”

Once the coaches made the decision, it was up to Streeter to sit down with Bryant and tell him the news. Streeter’s eyes misted over as he recalled having to hand bad news to one of his favorite players.

“It was very difficult. I told him up front, ‘This is not going to be an easy conversation for me, and it’s not going to be easy for you to hear but this is what we are going to do and this how we came to this conclusion.’ I told him that it was nothing that he had done wrong,” Streeter said. “It was more of what Trevor had done to earn it. It was very, very hard for him. But like I said, it was a collective decision by the coaches, and everybody was involved in the decision, including Tony (Elliott) and Jeff (Scott) and Coach Swinney and myself and everybody was on the same page. Unfortunately, it was a big blow to the kid, which we can all understand.”

Bryant didn’t show up for practice on Monday or Tuesday and decided to save his season – he only played four games and could still redshirt and transfer to another program to play – and wound up at Missouri.

Streeter said he was shocked when Bryant was a no-show at practice but understands why he made the decision he made.

“I was. Kelly is one of my favorite guys I’ve coached, and he is one of my favorite guys as a person,” Streeter said. “I still feel that way. He is an awesome kid, and he comes from an awesome family. I wish he would have stayed, but I know that God has a plan for his life, and he tried to do the best thing for Kelly. It was definitely tough because I love the kid so much.”

In part two of this series, which will run tomorrow, Streeter compares Lawrence to an NBA big man who isn’t afraid to shoot a 3-pointer.\

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