Elliott says Etienne can be better as a running back

Elliott says Etienne can be better as a running back

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Elliott says Etienne can be better as a running back

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It’s hard to imagine running back Travis Etienne can be better than he was last season.

The ACC Player of the Year, rushed for 1,658 yards, a Clemson single-season record. His 24 rushing touchdowns also set a Clemson single-season record, while his 26 total touchdowns tied an ACC record.

Etienne averaged 8.1 yards per carry, the best per carry average of any player in ACC history that rushed for than 1,600 yards in a season. It is also the best per carry average of any player in Clemson history that rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

But he can still get better.

“He can be more disciplined and make sure he is running within the scheme consistently,” running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “Sometimes, he gets anxious and freelances on his own and that gets him in trouble. Pass protection has to continue to improve. He has made tremendous strides, but he is still not where he needs to be.”

Elliott admits Etienne was where he needed to be in his progression as a player last year and was probably ahead of schedule. However, he wants his young running back to understand he still has things he can improve on to make himself a more complete running back.

“He is where he needs to be at this point of his career, but there is still another step we have to take,” the Clemson coach said. “Catching the ball out of the backfield. He has to get better there.

“I would like to see him assert himself more as a leader. I think he kind of stepped to the back and let some of the older guys do that last year. I want him to understand that age does not matter. It is about your mindset, your mentality and how you come to work every single day.”

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