Nature of the beast

CLEMSON - Chad Morris wouldn't be human if he didn't enter the spring a little apprehensive because of the collection of alpha-male competitors in the QB meeting room.

And, oh, yeah, there was the commencement of the pursuit of Tajh Boyd's successor, which started several years ago on Twitter when Cole Stoudt and Chad Kelly exchanged lobbed a few volleys of shots at one another -- Stoudt had been on campus for barely a year and Kelly was still months away from making his move down from Buffalo.

All parties insist that's water under the bridge, and plenty of time has passed since that was a storyline. Water under the bridge.

But they're both human. The history is still there. While there is no TMZ-like proof -- nor is there any effort to find anything that would suggest otherwise -- it would appear that Stoudt and Kelly's relationship is nothing more than what it is on the surface.

They're teammates that don't claim to be close off the field. And there's not a thing wrong with that.

Throw in the dynamic of the arrival highly-touted, next big thing freshman, this quarterback battle has all the makings for drama that could draw some pretty good ratings if it was a reality TV series. As 2014 as it may be in Clemson, that's not happening anytime soon, not under Dabo Swinney's watch.

To this point, the upperclassmen have had enough respect for themselves, competitors, teammates and coaches to say the right things.

Everything and everyone, on the surface, seems to be doing just fine.

"The biggest thing coming into this spring is -- yes, you're going to have a competitive battle. Can it be a healthy competitive battle where you really see some encouragement? There's no anti- in the room, dissention or anything," Morris said. "Those guys are really working with each other. Each and every one of them is making plays. Each and every one of them is making mistakes. I was extremely encouraged with all three of them today."

Stoudt was asked about his play in Monday's scrimmage.

"I think I did pretty well," he said. "I made a bunch of reads that were good. I made a couple of good throws, deep balls, scrambles out of the pocket. I was happy with my performance today."

So was Kelly.

"I thought I did well," he said. "I mean, there's always room for improvement. I've just got to back and look at the film. Off the top of my head: I maybe could have thrown the ball a little shorter on one, but that's about all I remember."

Morris spoke on behalf of Watson, who won't be allowed to answer questions from reporters until he plays in a real game.

"First time he's been live since a playoff game a few months ago back in high school," Morris said. "To see him come out there in live action coming at him, step up, make plays, keep his eyes down field, he did a really good job, as they all did."

It would appear, halfway through spring practice, everything is going swimmingly.

"The encouraging thing is all three of them are motivating each other, all three of them are competing against each other and they're all making plays," Morris said. "We're very fortunate, probably one of the more fortunate teams in the country to have the opportunity of a selection like we've got right now of guys that are really pushing each other."

Will any of that change now that it's April?

Probably not.

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