They weren't friends.
Based on the answers each gave when reporters asked about their relationship many months after their dust settled in their online spat, neither seemed to be in a hurry to buddy up with the other.
Kelly and Stoudt were never going to hang out after practice or go grab a few beers on a Friday night, and there was never really anything wrong with that -- they didn't have to be friends, just as long as the public wasn't a reminded how much they weren't.
Chad Morris wouldn't admit it when asked, but his decision to have the quarterbacks and position coaches meet once a week for dinner made it quite apparent, at least from this angle. This spring, a sense of a community needed to be created amongst the guys in the Clemson quarterback room, especially since two of the three who were competing for the starting job didn't particularly care for one another.
In the latter stages of spring ball, Morris insisted that competition for the starting quarterback job was a healthy one, and there was no reason to believe otherwise. Perhaps that weekly breaking of bread had something to do with it.
Up until Monday's news that Kelly was kicked off the team, the Clemson coaches insisted that the race was still wide-open, even though Kelly threw two interceptions and another temper tantrum over playing time in the spring game.
"I don't know what happened on the other sidelines or anything, but we're all a team," Stoudt said on Saturday night, after the game. "We're all going to be here and be supportive with everything. We're all together with everything, so…"
Before that brief moment of awkwardness, which usually accompanied any question to Stoudt about Kelly or to Kelly about Stoudt, Stoudt had the look and sound of a guy that knew things were trending in his direction.
"I'm happy with how I performed today," Stoudt said. "Throughout the spring, I've really improved myself as a player and as a teammate and a leader. I'm happy with my situation."
Based solely on what transpired in the spring game, it was easy to see why.
"I think [my confidence] is higher, because I've improved myself and I've proved my role on this team," Stoudt said. "That was my goal this spring, to improve myself in everything, all aspects -- throwing, reading [and] being a good team player.
"All the quarterbacks have done that. I've improved. I still feel confident. I feel a little more confident after this spring ball, but we're going to see how it all goes when we go through film, summer workouts and into fall."
Apparently, it won't take that long. On Tuesday, about 24 hours after Kelly was booted, news broke that Swinney plans to officially name Stoudt the starting quarterback during a team meeting on Monday.
Now, Stoudt will have to fend off a charge from freshman Deshaun Watson. Less than four months from kickoff, the CUTigers.com TMZ affiliate won't be monitoring the new Clemson quarterback race.
Speaking for the group, we're all a little bit thankful that's the case.
So long to the QB drama
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