Etienne no longer a liability in the passing game

Etienne no longer a liability in the passing game

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Etienne no longer a liability in the passing game

So far this season Clemson running back Travis Etienne has rushed for 107 yards in two games. Though he has already scored two touchdowns and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry, some feel he is not having the season they were hoping for.

One of those people is head coach Dabo Swinney, who said earlier this week they have to give the sophomore more carries.

“ET has to touch it,” Swinney said. “He has to touch the ball. He had three key plays in the passing game for us.”

Etienne finished the Texas A&M game with 11 touches on 32 snaps. He had 11 carries for 63 yards on 33 snaps the week before in a blowout win over Furman.

“We only had 55 snaps (as a team). There is a combination of how inefficient we were. How poor on third down we were and kind of just some of the situations in the game,” Swinney said. “(Etienne) has to touch the ball. Feaster has to touch the ball, too.”

Swinney has a point. Etienne was productive when he touched the football. Besides having a 28-yard run, he also took a screen pass on a third-and-13 situation 18 yards to the Aggies’ one-yard line. Quarterback Kelly Bryant scored on the next play.

Etienne finished the game with three receptions for 23 yards.

“I feel if we just work and try to work together, things will come our way,” Etienne said when he asked about his limited touches so far this season. “We just can’t get frustrated about it.”

The sophomore running back feels like his season is going well. He is especially pleased with the way he is catching the ball and is no longer a liability in the passing game.

“I feel like I have definitely gotten better pass protection wise,” he said. “I have been able to diagnose the defense and read the fronts and stuff like that. I feel I am definitely playing a step above last year.

“I can probably catch more passes this year because last year, I probably caught six or seven passes all year. I’m just trying to show the world I can be good out of the backfield and can catch the ball.”

Etienne will try to keep it going on Saturday when the second-ranked Tigers host Georgia Southern at Death Valley.

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