Father knows best

CLEMSON - The first half of spring practice was pretty forgettable for Cole Stoudt. But a little spring break advice from his dad, former NFL QB Cliff Stoudt, certainly has helped.

Both Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris were far from pleased with Stoudt's performances during the early portion of spring practice.

Because of his poor play, Stoudt was dangerously close to a demotion to the third-team.

"I started out kind of slow…but I went home and threw with my dad for a little bit, tried to get everything back straight," Stoudt said. "I've started to get everything back rolling. I've improved since the first couple of practices of the spring."

Cliff, who played for the Steelers, Cardinals, Dolphins and Cowboys, advised Cole on a couple of mechanical issues.

"He was directing me on footwork and how I'm releasing the ball," Cole said. "It's really helped a lot."

He added, "The biggest thing my dad said was relax. If you're all tightened up, you really can't move at all. The biggest thing my dad said was relax and have fun. It helped."

Since the spring break mentoring sessions, Stoudt's considerably closer to the level he was playing at last year when he backed up All-ACC quarterback Tajh Boyd.

Stoudt said his reinvigorated play was also kick-started by Swinney, who made quarterbacks live in the Tigers' first spring scrimmage.

"That was probably one of the best practices I had," Stoudt said. "That was the first day coach Swinney let quarterbacks get hit. It kind of had a game experience-type feeling like, uh oh; they're not just going to brush by me this time. They're going to hit me.

"You kind of play with a little more edge, a little more enthusiastic out there. It was a lot of fun."

Had Stoudt not picked up his play, fellow 2011 signee Morgan Roberts was in-line for a promotion to the second-team.

"I think, with coach Swinney letting us get hit, it kind of let us have a little energy going," Stoudt said.

Later this summer, Chad Kelly, the first quarterback personally selected by Morris to sign with Clemson, will be in the mix to serve as Boyd's backup.

Stoudt and Kelly have already clashed once. Earlier this year, the two quarterbacks had a spat that played out over Twitter.

"That was a mistake on both parts. We said things we shouldn't have said," Stoudt said. "Chad, he's a teammate now. He's one of us. He's going to be here in June. We're going to welcome him with open arms. He's family.

"We're going to be competing. It's going to be good."

During Kelly's most recent visit to Clemson, he, Stoudt and Morris sat down to air out the differences.

"We actually laughed about it and said it's in the past. We're teammates now. It was a little speed bump, but we're both competing," Stoudt said. "I'm glad he has a little edge like that. If he's not coming to compete, that's not good. I want him to make me better. I want to make him better."

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