Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was in a good mood following’s Wednesday practice until he was asked if there was a time when he and the other coaches were going to be comfortable about getting quarterback Deshaun Watson more involved in the running game.
Watson ran the ball five times for eight yards against Pitt last Saturday and for the season has 100 carries for 378 yards and two scores. Clemson Sports Information Director for football, Tim Bourret, said Watson had just 108 carries through 10 games last season.
“We have been comfortable with him all year,” Swinney said.
When the question was referred more specifically to the Pitt game, Swinney said, “The last game was not called to run him. Why are we going to run our quarterback with an eight- and nine-man box? Did you watch the game? Do you know anything about football?
“You got nine guys in there. Do you want to run your quarterback? We threw for 580 yards. So that’s why in our last game … I’m tired of that question. That’s about the third time this week.”
Watson completed 52 of 70 passes for 580 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. His 580 passing yards were an ACC record, while his 588 total yards were a Clemson record and were second all-time in the ACC. His 52 completions and 70 attempts were also records.
“I’m not going to run my quarterback into a defense that is built to stop the run when I have Mike Williams against a defense that cannot stop the pass,” Swinney said. “He threw for 580 yards, okay. He has run the ball all year. He ran the ball against Louisville. He has run the ball all year. He will run the ball when it is called for him to run the ball.”
Mullen out. Swinney says cornerback Trayvon Mullen will miss Saturday’s game at Wake Forest. Swinney says the freshman defensive back has some inflammation in his achilles so they have decided that it was best to hold him out of practice and of course the game.
“He has a little inflammation in his achilles area so we are just going to keep him in a boot all week and take all the pressure off of him and hopefully by Sunday, he is bouncing around a little bit better,” Swinney said. “It has kind of been lingering around and he has tried to play through it, but we just felt like for the long haul, we need to take a step back this week and hold him.”
Mullen has played in nine of the Tigers’ 10 games this year and has 12 tackles and one quarterback pressure.
Hyatt update. Swinney went on to say left tackle Mitch Hyatt was fine and he will play this week. Hyatt injured his foot in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh.
Fruhmorgen update. Right tackle Jake Fruhmorgen, who has missed the last two games, was at practice on Wednesday, but did not practice. As you may recall, Fruhmorgen missed the Syracuse game due to a banged up shoulder, and then missed last week’s game against Pitt for personal reasons.
“It was great to see him. It was great to have him around his teammates. It was good for them and for him,” Swinney said. “I think that is a positive. I was glad to see him. It seemed like he was in good spirits and we will just continue to be on a day-by-day deal with that.”