Cole Stoudt earns some love from Tiger fans

Quarterback Cole Stoudt takes a snap in the second quarter

Photo by Mark Crammer

Quarterback Cole Stoudt takes a snap in the second quarter

CLEMSON – Everybody loves the backup quarterback, so the saying goes.

But when Tajh Boyd is the starter…the backup happens to stay more out of the limelight.

Last week, Cole Stoudt got an early shot at some fame when Boyd took a shot and had to come out briefly in the second quarter. The Dublin, Ohio native connected on his first seven passes and then 12 of the next 13 for a Clemson single-game completion percentage record (.950).

“I just made connections with the receivers and getting in a groove fast,” Stoudt said. “(I was) performing at a high level and I'm happy with how I handled the offense in the situation with Tajh getting the wind knocked out of him.”

Stoudt has been Clemson's backup QB forever now (or since spring of 2011 if you're into specifics) – and he’s had to come in for Boyd unexpectedly five times, whether by injury or fatigue or equipment issues.

Stoudt plays with poise and confidence

None

The more memorable opportunity came in 2011 when Boyd took a hit to hip versus Boston College and Stoudt finished out the 36-14 win by hitting 12-of-18 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.

“I always have to prepare like I'm the guy,” said Stoudt. “I've had situations where I've had to go in for Tajh when he's been banged up and I went in there in and performed. Just like this last game, I had to go in.

“Getting more experience has given me more confidence to take over the offense when I need to.”

Clemson's offensive coordinator says there’s a polish to what the third-year junior is doing now.

“He had a really big spring and kind of dialed back in and came into fall camp and looked polished,” Chad Morris said. “He operates within the system and just takes what’s there. That’s what you have to do, and because of that, that’s what you saw out there.”

Stoudt couldn’t have a much better mentor than who was already in his home, from his dad, Cliff Stoudt, who hung around the NFL as a quarterback from 1977-91.

Where there may usually have been a critique postgame, Cole said the first words exchanged with his Dad were few last Saturday.

“He walked up to me and gave me a hug and said, 'That was awesome,’” Stoudt recalled. “He was happy and proud and I was glad he was there to see it.”

Having the check mark on passing accuracy, Stoudt says he’s also worked on his running game.

“With this offense, you need to be multiple things,” he said. “In this past year, we've developed a good dual-threat for all of our quarterbacks. Over the summer, I had to learn how to run better. I haven't had that good run capability, but over this past year I've been working on my speed and agility.

“Seeing Tajh handle the offense like that is really good - even though he's taking a beating - it's what we have to do perform for our offense.”

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Comments » 10

Bigboots writes:

Looking forward to seeing more of Chad K.

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

It'll be interesting to see what develops next season at this position. Stoudt, Kelly and Watson (assuming he signs).

Stoudt did some good things last Saturday, but assuming he's healthy Kelly could be a dynamic playmaker.

kellytown writes:

I think that Cole Stoudt performed excellent. I think that he has waited his turn. So why not give him a chance next year to run the offense. Just like hot rod waited. He is well deserving of starting.

rsb8931#286014 writes:

Please Lord do not let anything bad happen to our quarterback. And thank you for giving us Cole Stoudt. You must really be on our side.

Bleedsorange writes:

If we still have morris next year I bet Stoudt breaks Boyds single season numbers he will be four seasons in learning our offense and because of that the kid will put up big numbers. This is only season three for Tajh. Kelly will not start next year bank on it. And yes I have been Stoudt's biggest critic but he changed my mind Saturday

Bleedsorange writes:

One more thing if Stoudt plays like that every time he goes in this season I say use Darth Visor's own trick on the yard birds and start him because little film equals little plan.

TigerNE writes:

If his maturity is real and permanent, my money is on Stoudt winning as starter next year. But if Kelly (or Watson) step up strong too, we may have more of a dual QB situation. I can imagine Stoudt starting every key game, like serious opponents (FBS?) - but playing fewer snaps that Boyd. Stoudt has the arm but hasn't proven he really has the legs yet. So, substituting Kelly in second halves could be less a risk.

seldomusedreserve#284867 writes:

Bleeds - I haven't been a critic of Stoudt, but just didn't think he fit the Morris system...i.e. mobile QB and running threat. I shutter to think what would have happened if Stoudt had to play against LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl...that said, he has done everything asked of him and performed at a very high level last weekend.

Bigboots writes:

Stoudt had success against SC State.
Great.
That does not qualify him to become a starting QB at Clemson.
He is a good backup plan.
Same will be true next year.

TigerNE writes:

in response to Bigboots:

Stoudt had success against SC State.
Great.
That does not qualify him to become a starting QB at Clemson.
He is a good backup plan.
Same will be true next year.

Bigboots, Kelly would have to get a good deal of playing time this year and improve upon his nervous performance against SC State to start the season against UGA next year in my book. The starting slot is Stoudt's to loose. Of course, if he doesn't keep improving his agility with his feet, he could easily loose the slot. I'll wait until the end of this season to see if I change my mind, but I see Stoudt as a competitor and someone who wants to start next year. We'll have more opportunity to see how/if he has changed.

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