Last season the Clemson quarterback room saw just how quickly their number could be called upon.
In the midst of their run to a sixth consecutive ACC Championship, the Tigers suddenly found themselves without Trevor Lawrence after the starting quarterback tested positive for COVID-19. Suddenly, backup D.J. Uiagalelei was thrust into action.
It was an eye-opening experience for backup quarterback Taisun Phommachanh according to Tony Elliott. Knowing that could be him next season, the Tigers' offensive coordinator said Phommachanh looks to be more committed to honing his craft this spring.
"I think, you know, last year illustrated that, unbeknownst to us, Trevor's out for two games now D.J. has to step in," Elliott said. "So it really reinforced, you know, the concept that we have here. That it's next man up and you're really one play away."
"Definitely seen a different demeanor about him, you know, when he's been out there taking his reps. You see that he's trying to process things, you know the way he needs to process and not relying on talent. But really, really diving into the details, and it's huge."
Phommachanh came to Clemson as a highly-touted quarterback prospect out of Connecticut, but the redshirt sophomore has struggled to put it all together on the field. He enters the 2021 season having completed just 11-29 passes for 73 yards in his career, and last season was just 5-17 for 17 yards.
Now that he's entering his third season in the program, the coaches are expecting more. This season it's likely to be Phommachanh that is just one play away from being the Tigers' starting quarterback and Elliott said it's obvious that he is aware of that by the approach he is taking this spring.
"I've just seen a different sense of urgency about him," Elliott said. "You know, to really, really hone in on the details and I think he's just, like he's one step closer to really, really, really being able to touch, and see, and contribute to the team. So you just see a new renewed sense of urgency."