CLEMSON — Kelly Bryant knows he missed some throws he should have made Saturday. He knows he needs to watch the game tape from Clemson's 48-7 rout of Furman on Saturday to dissect how he played and he knows Clemson's football coaches are always grading him.
That much is a given when it comes to this competition between him and hotshot freshman Trevor Lawrence for Clemson's starting quarterback spot.
But Bryant believes he "definitely" did enough Saturday afternoon at Death Valley to prove to coaches he is still worthy of the starting job next week when the Tigers march into Kyle Field, where 103,000 screaming fans will be going bonkers at Texas A&M.
And he might not be alone in that thought.
The Internet might be ready to crown Lawrence the king of campus and the starter of this Clemson team, but Clemson's coaches seemed to sing a different tune in their postgame remarks. If Saturday was any indication, there might not be any major changes coming this week.
"We've got to watch the tape," co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said Saturday when asked specifically if his senior quarterback had done enough to hang onto his job. "But I didn't notice anything that would change anything in our minds."
Added Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, just about 20 minutes later:
"They just need to play well. But I wouldn't say anything that says, 'Hey, this guy doesn't deserve an opportunity to play.'"
Bryant had some early jitters Saturday, something he had no problem admitting when it came to passes he overthrew or receivers he missed in the first half. While Lawrence had the edge on him at halftime with 53 more passing yards and a better completion rate, Bryant found his way in the third quarter and gave coaches a glimpse of exactly what they wanted to see heading into Texas A&M next week.
In the third quarter, immediately after Bryant connected with freshman receiver Derion Kendrick for 38 yards, the run-first quarterback sprinted 35 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.
He finished the afternoon 10 of 16 passing for 127 yards with 1 touchdown, and 1 rushing TD. Lawrence completed 9 of 15 pases for 137 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Because they were so even statistically, the edge next week would seem to go to Bryant based on Swinney's past tendencies.
But Bryant knows that beyond what he controls in practice, the rest is out of his hands. Week 1 is over. What happens in Week 2 — that is a script still waiting to be written.
"It's the coaches' decision," Bryant said. "It's always been about performance and everybody played well.
"So we're going to watch film, grade it and just be ready for next week. I'll let the coaches decide."