There has been a lot of anti-Trevor Lawrence talk over the last 10 days.
Since former Clemson football star quarterback Trevor Lawrence held his personal throwing day before having surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, the slander has been non-stop.
Trevor has been a can’t miss prospect since enrolling at Clemson in 2018 and since then he has done nothing but build on the legend that was created while he was on the field at Cartersville high school.
In college, all he did was win three Power 5 conference championships, lead his team to three college football playoff appearances, play for two national titles, and win one of them – oh and he lost two games in three years.
Statistically, when you look at each season he was at Clemson, he improved across the board. He is better now than he ever has been with no reason to think he has peaked.
However, that hasn’t stopped media personalities like ESPN’s Ryan Clark or Fox Sports Colin Cowherd from telling their audiences that Trevor isn’t as can’t miss as even they originally thought. And to back up their newfound opinions, they say the same thing – Zach Wilson is the next Patrick Mahomes, or the newly minted NFL rookie of the year Justin Herbert is better.
If we are being honest, all of this new rhetoric is all on the shoulders of Clemson football head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott – allow me to explain.
Coach Swinney changed his playing time philosophy.
When Deshaun Watson was part of the Clemson football team between 2014 and 2016, he was on the field and the ball was always in his hands.
Like Lawrence, Watson was not the immediate starter and had to split time with a senior quarterback who had paid their dues.
During the 38 games that Deshaun Watson was a quarterback for Clemson football, they ran 3,418 plays. Of those, they ran 2,913 plays while he was under center, Deshaun either threw or ran the ball 1,642 times, which works out to just over 56 percent.
During Deshaun’s tenure, another quarterback attempted just 164 passes, and that even includes the games Cole Stoudt was technically the starter in 2014 – though that number does not include the 231 passing attempts he had when Watson tore his ACL in 2014.
Now take a look at Trevor Lawrence and look at how different Swinney’s philosophy was with Lawrence and remember this coaching staff swears their offense stays the same no matter who the quarterback is.
During Lawrence’s time in Clemson, the Tigers ran a total of 3,051 plays. Of those 3,051 plays, Trevor Lawrence attempted a pass or ran the ball just 1,369 times. That is 273 fewer total attempts for Lawrence than Watson. Yet Lawrence had just 900 fewer yards of total offense and only eight fewer total touchdowns.
During Lawrence’s career in a Tigers uniform, other quarterbacks attempted 271 passes in games that he also played in.
It is very clear that while Dabo and Tony love to say that their offensive and their philosophy is the same, it clearly is not and this newfound need to bring Lawrence down is because the coaching staff coached and played him differently than they did their last first-round quarterback.
This by no means is a shot at either Swinney or Elliott, their success speaks for itself, but ultimately Trevor Lawrence not rewriting the college football record books like many expected following his performance against Alabama in January of 2019.
This alone is why people are taking shots at Lawrence now when in reality it comes down to a philosophy change from the offensive coaching staff.