CLEMSON - Receivers like Charone Peake and Mike Williams aren't about to feed into a Clemson quarterback controversy.
Who: S.C. State (1-0) at Clemson (0-1)
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson
TV: ACC Network
This much is certain: the Tigers' offense has been suited for senior Cole Stoudt, who prepped all offseason as the starter and made good enough throws to somewhat explain his 15-for-28 completion mark in Saturday's 45-21 loss at Georgia.
Deshaun Watson is more precocious than most freshmen, evidenced by back-to-back strikes to Williams and Peake amassing 59 yards in the second quarter. Peake's 30-yard touchdown - Watson's first career TD - was the last points Clemson would score.
This much is not certain: what this means for playing time going forward, whether Stoudt will retain the lion's share of drives or if Clemson is headed for a 2-QB system.
Either way, Williams and Peake aren't flapping their gums on the subject.
"We're with those guys all the time. We're used to catching from both of them," Peake said. "Deshaun's been here since January, and we've been Cole for so long, it doesn't matter when either one of them is out there, we've got to execute regardless."
"The offense doesn't change. The tempo doesn't change," Williams said. "Both are the quarterbacks are great players, and we're going to come out here and play football."
Offensive coordinator Chad Morris saw enough good moments out of both his scholarship quarterbacks to lend some praise after an uneven offensive performance.
"I thought Cole played well. I really do. I thought he came in and managed the game extremely well," Morris said. "I think he had one series in that second half that was a little disappointing. But outside of that, that was it.
"I did not think the environment or setting was too big for (Deshaun.) He comes in, leads us downfield on a touchdown."
Watson entered on the Tigers' fifth drive, after three consecutive three-and-outs.
"Coach Swinney and Coach Morris said I'd get a shot, whenever that time comes," Watson said. "That time came, so I just took advantage of my opportunity."
His touchdown was answered by Stoudt leading a 10-play touchdown drive.
Stoudt's feathers weren't ruffled by all the Watson attention, figuring it was inevitable when Watson made a highlight-reel throw and finally met with reporters for the first time in a Clemson uniform.
"We want the best for the team," Stoudt said. "That's kind of how me and Tajh (Boyd's) relationship was. Me and Deshaun, if anything, we have a better relationship than what that was."
The adage goes, if you have two quarterbacks, you have none. For now, a brewing storm (if it's en route) isn't dividing the locker room.
"To have two great quarterbacks like that," Williams said, "both of them come in and you don't lose a step."
TE Cooper out
Clemson's tight end depth was thinned unexpectedly during pregame warmups, when senior tight end Sam Cooper broke a bone in his leg running a route. According to ESPN, Cooper was in a walking boot on the sidelines at kickoff, as he was expected to be one of five game captains.
Head coach Dabo Swinney said on a Sunday teleconference Cooper broke his fibula, a non-weight-bearing bone. Team doctors say Cooper could be back in three weeks.
"That was a big factor for us. He's a big, strong physical guy," Swinney said. "We had to scramble there a little bit right before the game. Never had that happen before, but I'm happy his season is not over."
Only three throwing targets went to tight ends, yielding two catches for two yards.
If anything, from all the missed tackles and blown protections, the Tigers can accelerate how they work on critical errors based on a difficult matchup with the Bulldogs, rather than waiting a few weaker assignments before a big test.
"We've learned a lot about our guys that I think sometimes might take people four or five games to learn," Swinney said. "First games are tough, that's for sure, but first games against good teams are even tougher. That's a risk you take when you schedule these type of games."
Sophomore T.J. Green might have found his chief role on the Tigers as a kick returner. A former wide receiver now working at safety, Green opened Saturday with a 30-yard kick return and ended up with five touches for 107 yards in that capacity. He did drop one ball upon getting decleated, but was ruled down by contact.
"It looks like he's going to be a guy," Swinney said, "that's going to be really effective for us in the return game."
Green averaged 21.4 yards per return, a few yards higher than Clemson's 2013 team average.
Players of the game
Handing out team-honored individuals, Swinney praised left guard Kalon Davis on offense, strong safety Robert Smith on defense and linebacker Tony Steward on special teams. Smith, a Woodland product, led the Tigers with 10 tackles.