Wayne Gallman insists he is fine and ready to play in third-ranked Clemson’s game at No. 12 Florida State on Saturday night, but the junior running back’s status is still up in the air after he suffered a concussion on Oct. 15 versus N.C. State.
Gallman said on Monday that he believes he will be cleared for full contact this week. However, that decision won’t be made until at least Thursday.
In the event Gallman is unable to play against the Seminoles, Clemson knows who it will turn to at running back.
Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said on Monday that reserve running back C.J. Fuller is in line to handle the bulk of the workload if Gallman can’t go.
“Right now if the situation were Wayne wasn’t available, he would be the guy as long as he goes out and has a great week of practice,” Elliott said of Fuller.
After Gallman sustained the game-ending concussion on a vicious hit by N.C. State’s Dravious Wright in the first quarter, Fuller was the best of Clemson’s backups.
The redshirt sophomore carried the ball a career-high 16 times for 56 yards, and picked up a critical first down on a fourth-down play in overtime that led to the game-winning score.
Fuller received first-team reps in practice last week with Gallman sitting out while in the concussion protocol.
“He had a good off week,” Elliott said, “and you saw a little bit of a different pep in his step, understanding what the responsibility of being that number one guy is.
“Those other guys are nipping at his heels, but I think right now if we went into it, C.J. would be the guy.”
Elliott said the repetitions Fuller got are valuable for a player who had only rushed 49 times in 12 games prior to N.C. State.
“I thought he did some good things, but you also saw there were some opportunities where he could have done a little bit better, and I think it was an experience factor,” Elliott said of Fuller. “Wayne’s played a lot of football. He’s been in those battles. He understands and has a chemistry with his offensive line, whereas some of those guys that are down the line aren’t getting quite as many reps.
“It takes reps and repetition with those guys and getting comfortable to be able to extend those 3-yard plays to 5-yard plays to 7-yard plays, and I think that’s what you get in Wayne Gallman.”
Clemson is game planning for Florida State as if Gallman will be playing. But Elliott said Clemson’s game plan on the ground will remain the same whether he suits up or not, and he expects Fuller and the running back corps to be ready.
“I got the question after the N.C. State game when he went out, did the game plan change? And the game plan didn’t change,” Elliott said. “Our run game is our run game, and those guys have to step up and be prepared.”
“So, we’re excited about the possibility of having him back,” Elliott added, “but we won’t know the determination until those guys give us the full go-ahead later in the week.”