The 2016 season is underway as third-ranked Clemson looks to make it back to the National Championship Game in Tampa.
In this edition of our Up Downs feature we take a look at which players made a move in the last week, which players are elevating their game and their position on the depth chart.
Deon Cain – It took five games, but Deon Cain is finally back. Cain can do some things that the other receivers at Clemson can’t do with his athleticism, speed and size. His dominate performance Saturday night couldn’t have come at a better time. Now we will see if he can play at that level consistently. If so he will see more targets.
Wayne Gallman – The Wayne Train also returned to form against Louisville. Gallman said Monday that he was more patient this week waiting on his blockers. He ran with the anger we saw last year and kept the other backs on the sidelines for most of the game.
Marcus Edmond – Marcus made one of the plays that will go down in history getting the critical stop on fourth down when it was one on one with the game on the line. Edmond has played well enough to keep Mark Fields watching from the sidelines. He has been waiting for his opportunity and he is taking advantage of that.
Van Smith – After five games Van has done a lot to put aside any concerns about Clemson’s play at safety after losing two starters to the NFL. Smith worked hard in the offseason to improve his tackling and that showed Saturday night when he was able to make numerous critical one on one tackles. Smith is not making the mental mistakes that we saw at safety the second half of last year and is one of the reasons we aren’t seeing the secondary give up the big chunk plays this season.
Albert Huggins – Huggins had his best game for Clemson against Louisville with two critical sacks. His play was critical as the defense labored through 105 snaps. Coach Swinney and coach Venables had plenty of praise for Huggins. We can expect more reps from him as the season progresses.
Mark Fields – Fields entered the season as the starter at corner and now is having a hard time seeing the field, except on special teams. Edmond has taken the job and performed well. Adrian Baker is expected back soon so that will make it even more difficult for Fields to see the field.
Tyshon Dye/C.J. Fuller – With Gallman playing at a high level the chances for Dye and Fuller to see the field in meaningful snaps has once again decreased. Choice and Feaster are likely to get snaps before Dye and Fuller as the season moves along.