CLEMSON — If his memory serves him correctly, the largest crowd Trevor Lawrence thinks he ever played in front of when he was a high school superstar, charging his team to a state championship title in Cartersville, Ga., would have been about 20,000 people.
On Saturday, when No. 2 Clemson travels to Texas A&M for the marquee matchup of the weekend pitting Jimbo Fisher against Dabo Swinney, that number is going to multiple for Lawrence by about five-times over.
Kyle Field holds 103,000 people. Death Valley, where Lawrence made his Clemson debut against Furman on Saturday, holds about 80,000.
There is nothing more a raucous Texas A&M crowd would love to see than for Lawrence to fail, and so if there was ever a week that was the biggest of Lawrence's football career, that week would be now.
His debut is now complete; he got the reviews he was hoping for from coaches.
So, where does Clemson's flashy freshman go from here?
Now it's time for Lawrence to spend loads of time with incumbent senior Kelly Bryant this week, picking his brain about what to expect when the Tigers march into Kyle Field on Saturday.
The duo might be competing for playing time on the field, but when it comes to a mentor-mentee role off it, Bryant and Lawrence play the part perfectly.
"Well, just for instance, I can just kind of ask him how games like this go as far as playing away in a big stadium with a hostile crowd. I'll just ask him. He's been there and he's played in it before," Lawrence said. "It would definitely be a big stress if the guy in front of me was not taking (splitting reps) well and not wanting to help me out.
"That definitely would make it a lot harder. But he's done a great job of just helping me out and really just being there for me. It shows his character."
Indeed, as Bryant and Lawrence find themselves in a precarious situation where they are competitors on the practice field but united as teammates on the game-day stage, the two have figured out how to manage this tricky situation smoothly.
While Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, the incumbent, indicated there was some tension with the Crimson Tide in a quarterbacks battle of its own this summer, if Lawrence and Bryant are experiencing any awkwardness, they are hiding it to perfection. When Lawrence scored the first touchdown of his career Saturday, it was Bryant who was the first to sprint over for a congratulatory celebration.
When Lawrence needs someone to lean on this week or a veteran to shed some guidance, Bryant will be that voice for the young Lawrence, and he's happy to play that role.
Both will play against the Aggies on Saturday — coach Dabo Swinney confirmed that much. But beyond that, adjusting to this new reality has been the name of the game for two quarterbacks who both never split reps a season ago. And it seems to be going well.
"You've got guys performing in practice, and they deserve to play. Coaches are going to make sure those guys play. That's just the culture we have here," Bryant said. "If guys are doing what they need to do to play, then they should play."
Moving forward, as far as who starts against Texas A&M and how exactly Clemson plans to manage the two, is something Swinney would like to keep close to the vest. But Clemson is open to continuing this one-two punch all season if it needs to, and it bodes well for the Tigers the main actors are handling it so well.
"I think the ideal scenario for us is that they both play well and we'll figure it out from there," said co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.
"We just said, ‘Hey, they did a good job Saturday, and as long as they do a good job in practice this week, we’re going to keep playing them.’ And hopefully they’ll both play well all year long. That’s literally as far as we’ve gotten."
To help prepare for the crowd noise that Clemson is going to hear at Kyle Field, the Tigers have been tapping into one of the perks of their $55 million facility — the virtual reality station.
The virtual reality station allows the Tigers to simulate being in different stadiums across the country, and while Scott was not certain if Texas A&M's station was one they had on file, the Tigers have plenty of other loud stadiums to choose from. All they have to do is put the technology on and it is as if they are in a stadium full of thousands of screaming fans.
"It’s been really a good tool for us to allow us to get a feel for the different environments that we go into," Bryant said. "Just kind of prepares us."
Clemson's athletic department re-printed and redistributed new statistics from Saturday's matchup with Furman to reflect a couple of changes that have now been updated. The original inaccurate stats show that Bryant was 10-for-16 passing with 127 yards, one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. The new stats say he was actually 11-for-17 passing with 132 yards, the passing touchdown and the rushing touchdown. Lawrence was originally listed as having gone 9-of-15 passing with 137 yards and three touchdowns, but he actually was 9 for 14. Last, but not least, sophomore wide receiver Amari Rodgers was granted one more catch and a few more yards Monday. In Saturday's stats, Rodgers had three catches for 44 yards. He actually caught four passes for 49 yards.