Swinney lauds Lawrence’s Watson-like mindset

NCAAF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Clemson coach Dabo Swinney isn’t concerned about Trevor Lawrence‘s shaky start Saturday because of how well the sophomore quarterback bounced back in the No. 3 Tigers’ 45-10 rout of Louisville.

Lawrence threw two first-quarter interceptions, one with Clemson in the red zone and another in the end zone for a touchback, but regrouped to lead the Tigers to their 22nd straight win in one of their most complete offensive performances of the season.

“I’m just really proud of Trevor,” Swinney said. “He was about as bad in the first quarter as you can be, 3-for-7, two interceptions and I don’t know … maybe 9 yards. I think that’s like negative, negative, negative in whatever your rating is and then he comes back and finished 20-of-29 with three touchdowns, and that’s what great players do.”

Lawrence has thrown eight interceptions in seven games this season after throwing just four all of last season as a true freshman. Swinney said Lawrence was trying to “do too much” to start Saturday’s game and told his quarterback that some of his decisions were “stupid” as Clemson led just 3-0 after the first quarter.

“But it’s all about how you respond. … He really had four plays that were bad plays in the game. But outside of that, wow!” Swinney said. “He ran the ball well, showed great leadership and got a lot of people involved.”

Even more impressive to Swinney was that Lawrence didn’t stop attacking, which reminded him of the way ex-Clemson star Deshaun Watson responded following bad plays.

“People forget that Deshaun Watson threw 17 interceptions his junior year and 13 the year before that,” Swinney said. “You just keep swinging, and that’s what I told (Lawrence). I heard Kobe Bryant say one time, ‘If I go 0-for-30, why go 0-for-12? I’m making the next one.’ That’s the mindset. Trevor has that. Deshaun had that. Deshaun was the same way. He was always going to go make the next play. That’s how Trevor is. He’s the exact same. He don’t go into a shell. He don’t pout. He just responds.”

Lawrence threw two of his touchdown passes to spots where only Justyn Ross and Joseph Ngata could go up and get them in the back end of the zone and said he has that kind of trust in his receivers.

“I felt like I got into a rhythm and wanted to keep firing, and just because I had two bad plays, I didn’t want to let that affect me the rest of the game,” said Lawrence, who has thrown six touchdown passes in his past two games.

Swinney wants to see the Tigers play cleaner football offensively to start the game, but added, “Nobody plays a perfect game. The best of the best of the best in the world will make some bad plays from time to time. But, again, Trevor had four bad plays. Outside of that, I don’t know of another one. Now they were bad, and two of them were awful.

“But, man, he made some big ones, some big runs, some tough runs, and our guys believe in Trevor big-time. There’s no issue there.”

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