While the quarterback battle understandably and reasonably earns all the headlines, here’s believing this question is the bigger variable.
Not that they’re mutually exclusive. Having a trump card like Deshaun Watson at quarterback gives a schematic advantage to Clemson’s run game, just as Alabama’s run game dictated what was needed from freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts last season.
Clemson’s ability to utilize its receivers and retain its vertical passing potency this fall is imperative to the offense’s identity and success, and that will certainly play into the staff’s thinking in selecting the eventual starter.
That said, the complexion of Clemson’s run game changes if Kelly Bryant seizes the starting role.
Bryant has shown to be a rushing asset. He’s a natural ball-carrier who can take a pounding and fight for tough yards as well as use his acceleration to glide for others.
The plays Clemson uses wouldn’t change with Bryant as the starter. But the composition of what would be called and how often certainly would. And when the run game becomes who you are or strive to be, you’re going to be better at it.