While things seem to be settled at the quarterback spot for the moment after head coach Dabo Swinney named Kelly Bryant as the starter for the Kent State game on Sept. 2, the running back position is very much up in the air at Clemson.
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said following practice on Thursday that C.J. Fuller is still his No. 1 running back, but Tavien Feaster is a close No. 2.
“You have Tavien and Fuller right now working mostly with the ones because (Adam) Choice has been out for the last couple of days so he has not had any reps,” Elliott said.
Choice came back to practice on Thursday, but he missed last week’s scrimmage and the situational scrimmage on Wednesday, which has caused the junior to fall down on the depth chart.
“Choice was having a very, very good camp, but he has missed the last week,” Elliott said. “So hopefully he will use this next scrimmage (on Saturday) and today’s practice and he will be able to make up some ground.”
Nipping on Choice’s heel is freshman running back Travis Etienne, who has been the talk of camp. He has led the Tigers in rushing in both scrimmages to this point, including a 32-yard touchdown run last week in the Valley and then a 60-yard run on Wednesday.
“The difference with Travis and what Travis has been able to do over the rest of those guys is he has been able to find some home runs,” Elliott said. “Sometimes that is due to opportunity. He may be getting the right call at the right time.”
Or maybe he is just that good. Elliott admitted he has had the freshman, who did not enroll in school until the second-summer session, working with the first-team offense at times in practice.
“I will stick Travis in there everyone once in a while to see him run behind that first unit (offensive line),” the Clemson coach said. “We feel good about our offensive line and we don’t feel like there is much of a drop off so I wanted to challenge him to work there.”
“Travis is a guy that we know what he can do with the ball in hands and in the field, but he has to be able to function well without the ball and that is where he has to grow up,” Elliott continued.
As for Fuller, and why he is Elliott’s top choice for the moment, it’s simple. He is reliable.
“I would say Fuller has had a very, very steady camp,” Elliott said. “It’s nothing flashy, but he is the most dependable in pass protection and he comes to work every single day and he has made the plays that are there.”
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