By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- After standing out to the Clemson coaching staff during spring practice, redshirt freshman running back DJ Howard knew that he would have to continue to push himself throughout fall camp in order to earn playing time for the Tigers this fall. And he has done just that.
How does Howard describe himself as a running back?
“Well all of our running backs bring something different to the table,” Howard said. “Demont Bice, he’s more of a bigger guy, a power back, Bellamy is just explosive, he’s real quick, and then Ellington is a little bit of both. I’d put myself in the same category as Ellington though, as far as being quick and powerful. My thing is that I’d rather run through a guy than dodge him, I love contact its better that way.”
As far as playing time is concerned, Howard has been working mainly with the first team offense but has also worked with the second team.
“It’s up to me when I’m on the field, but whether or not I play is up to the coaches,” Howard said. “If they feel like they can trust me to go out there, then I’ll be out there.”
According to Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris, each of Clemson’s running backs have their own role in his new offense. What is Howard’s role?
“Coach Morris wants me to be an every down back,” Howard said. “There’s always room for improvement in my game, but in order to fill the role of the every down back, I need to improve on my protection. If you can’t protect the quarterback then you’re just not going to play, that’s the bottom line. Ball security is another area that I feel like I can improve on a little more.”
Howard believes that being practicing in the spring, when star running back Andre Ellington was out due to having foot surgery in January, and freshman running back Mike Bellamy hadn’t arrived at Clemson yet, helped him rise up the depth chart and also get a grasp of the new offense before working out on his own during the summer.