QB Soap Operas Highlight ACC's Spring
By Matt Phifer
A trio of quarterback soap operas highlighted spring practice in the ACC.
Clemson featured one of the most anticipated quarterback battles in the country between a talented trio in Cole Stoudt, Chad Kelly and Deshaun Watson. Cole Stoudt won the starting job with Dabo Sweeney describing him as a "great leader who has the respect of his teammates." Stoudt went 15-of-23 in the spring game for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
The other strong contender to replace Tajh Boyd, Chad Kelly, was dismissed from the team the Monday after the spring game for what Dabo Sweeney described as a "pattern of behavior not consistent with the values of our program." During the spring game Kelly was benched for getting into an argument with the coaches after going 10-of-18 for 113 yards and two interceptions. Kelly apologized through his family in a statement to the Syracuse Post-Standard near his hometown in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Deshaun Watson, who missed the spring game due to an injury, will be the backup quarterback in the fall.
Miami quarterback Ryan Williams was the expected starter until he tore his ACL in a scrimmage in early April. Williams underwent 90 minutes of successful surgery and has begun the rehabilitation process. He wants to return to the field, but a best-case scenario probably wouldn't have him back until late in the season. That most likely leaves the starting job in the hands of redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen.
Olsen had a rough spring and ended it with an even rougher spring game, going 7-for-21 for 65 yards and one interception. One reporter described Olsen as "erratic," noting that he overthrew a number of receivers.
Redshirt sophomore Gary Crow also was fighting for the starting quarterback job, but his spring game numbers weren't much better: 9-for-20 for 63 yards and one interception.
A pair of quarterbacks, including true freshman All-American Brad Kaaya, will arrive in mid-May. If Olsen and Crow don't show considerable progress, Kaaya could push for the starting job.
Finally, Florida State's quarterback Jameis Winston is working on improving his throwing mechanics, a somewhat startling idea considering he is coming of a national championship season. Apparently, the Seminoles' quarterbacks coach approached Winston after the national title game with some suggestions, including holding the ball higher up and generating more power from his hips. Once the season arrives, it will be interesting to see if Winston is better or worse with those changes in place.
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