Clemson’s offensive backfield depth chart is getting younger, with freshmen Wayne Gallman and Adam Choice moving into the top two spots at running back, ahead of upperclassmen C.J. Davidson and D.J. Howard.
The trend has been taking shape over the past four games, as Davidson and then Howard, got shots at being the Tigers’ primary ball-carrier. Then Gallman took a turn, followed by Choice last week against Louisville.
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In the past two games, Choice and Gallman combined for 184 yards on 42 carries, while Davidson Howard have contributed 56 yards on 11 attempts. The two freshmen also combined for nine receptions.
“We need to be better, and I think we will be,” Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said. “I think we’re kind of figuring some things out, and that over the second half of the season we’ll become a much improved running team.”
Swinney has some target numbers he’d like to see the Tigers reach, while acknowledging that a substantial portion of his team’s rushing yards end up as passing/receiving statistics.”What I’m looking at is the efficiency of what we do,” he said. “Part of it is just growing up. We have two freshmen who hadn’t played, and we’ve played some tough opponents … and we’ve had to grow guys up. Those guys have come on, and they’re not freshmen any more. They’ve got some experience and I can see their confidence growing.”
Swinney said better play from the Tigers’ tight ends and wide receivers needs to go hand-in-hand with the improvement by the running backs.
“Our wideouts missed some cracks [against Louisville] where if we get the crack like we’re supposed to, it affects the play big-time. Everybody [else] is blocked, and we get it to the unblocked safety, need the crack, and our guy’s not there.
“There are a lot of things we need to do, and can do, to improve the efficiency of our running game.”
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