CLEMSON-- A scary thought for opposing defenses this coming football season is that quarterback, and Heisman Trophy front-runner, Trevor Lawrence has improved from the last time he faced another team.
"Trevor has improved just with, I think he's already a poised guy, but you can see now, where his level of knowledge has gone to the point to where, you know, he can pinpoint exactly what happened," co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. "Whereas before he would kind of say, okay, I think this, but now it's like before we come off he's like, "Yeah, I should have done this. I should have done that."
"And so you're seeing him really, really take command of the offense. I think he's moving in the pocket. Being able to extend plays and just his feet in the pocket using his fundamentals to be able to get the ball out has been really, really good."
Given the prominence placed on the position and his success as a true freshman a season ago, the eyes of college football will follow Lawrence, who completed 259-of-397 passes for 3,280 yards with 30 touchdowns and four interceptions in 15 games (11 starts).
A repeat performance in 2019 would make Lawrence only the third quarterback in Clemson history with multiple 3,000-yard, 30-touchdown campaigns, joining Tajh Boyd (three) and Deshaun Watson (two).
Clemson’s explosiveness was reflected in its school-record 7.35 yards per play average, which shattered the previous record of 6.50 from 2006. The Tigers ranked in the top two in the nation in plays of 20-plus yards (104, second), 30-plus yards (59, tied for first), 40-plus yards (35, first), 50-plus yards (23, first) and 60-plus yards (13, tied for second).
They also recorded a school-record 19 touchdowns covering 50 yards or more, annihilating the previous record of 14 set by the 2006 squad. Players who scored 18 of those 19 touchdowns of 50 yards or more a year ago return for Clemson in 2019.
As impressive the numbers that Lawrence, and the offense as a whole, put up in less than a full season of starting for the Tigers, the one area that Elliott is still waiting on him to grow is in his leadership--he wants Lawrence to be more vocal.
"You know, I think leadership wise we're starting to see him be a little bit more vocal, you know? Whereas last year, obviously he was just trying to lead by example through his play, but now he has the confidence to be able to speak up and command it," Elliott said. "You know, you got four offensive lineman, senior offensive lineman up there and you know, that's where the bulk of our leadership's going to come from, but even though he's just a sophomore, we're challenging him and we're seeing him responding."
If Lawrence is able to maintain, even a small amount of the consistency that he had in his first season as a Tiger, their may be even more hardware coming for the Tiger program.
However, for Lawrence, all of those numbers and accomplishments are in the past and he is focused on getting better this summer.
"I'll probably take about a week or two off just from throwing at all, and then after that, it'll be kind of starting summer training," Lawrence said. "We're not gonna have a lot of mandatory stuff so that everyone's just doing work on their own and getting better, and obviously we're gonna have a lot of stuff this summer as far as throwing together and that kind of stuff."