Etienne’s competitive fire has allowed him to become the ACC’s best running back

Etienne’s competitive fire has allowed him to become the ACC’s best running back

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Etienne’s competitive fire has allowed him to become the ACC’s best running back

Travis Etienne wants to score every time he touches the football. When he doesn’t, he can get a little cranky, which was the case a few weeks back in Clemson’s win over Duke.

The ACC’s leading rusher in terms of yards and yards per carry, got a little upset with himself when he wasn’t making the right plays early in the game.

Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott did not see Etienne’s outburst because he was in the middle of calling plays up in the press box, but he heard about it and he could not have been prouder of his star pupil.

Elliott has been pushing Etienne all season to show some of that fire and take control of the team when he wants to. The Clemson coach said Etienne is one of the toughest competitors he has coached, however, he wants to see that same fire from him when things are not going well, too. He wants to see that same drive and passion.

“With Travis, I just push him every day to be his best because some things have come really, really easy for him and he has been able to get away with that,” Elliott said.

Etienne is the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Clemson running back led all players with 174 points on Monday as he was named as a First-Team All-ACC running back. He led the ACC with 1,307 yards in the regular season, while his 20 touchdowns led the league as well.

Etienne set the Clemson record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 19, which also leads the ACC.

“Coach always kind of gets on me because I’m always kind of talking about guys that I look up to, and he kind of wants me to put it into perspective because there are people that look up to me now. I’m that person that people see in that light and stuff like that,” Etienne said.

Etienne tries to improve by not only watching himself, but others as well, such as NFL running backs Leonard Fortunate, Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell.

“In Leonard I try to be physical like him. Ezekiel, I just try to have that mindset that I can run through anybody and with Le’Veon, it is just the patience that he runs with,” Etienne said. “I watch them just more as a player now.

“When I watch (the NFL), I see things as a player and say, ‘Oh, dang! He could have hit it there.’ I just watch their techniques and stuff and just try to critique them and learn from their mistakes.”

And he has done it while becoming the ACC’s best running back and possibly its best player, too.

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