While players at some programs may get caught up in statistics or individual accomplishments, Clemson is different, and it showed in the Tigers’ 52-10 win over Charlotte on Saturday night at Death Valley.
Trevor Lawrence, a leading preseason Heisman Trophy contender, attempted just nine passes before being taken out of the game early in the second quarter following Clemson’s third offensive series. Travis Etienne, another Heisman candidate, logged only 11 carries.
However, Lawrence and Etienne did not complain about seeing limited action in a game that could have padded their stats — and those are just a couple of examples of the unselfishness which has been ingrained into the Clemson program.
For the Tigers, it’s not about personal numbers, but rather about doing whatever the team needs to be in the best position to make another title run.
“It’s just very unique in the year 2019 to be at a place that has a culture where your stars aren’t worried about their stats,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said after the game. “Trevor is honestly not worried about his stats. Travis is not worried about his stats.
“They’ve been a part of championship teams, these championship runs that you want to make. They know it’s a long year, and so this is an advantage – they can go in there and play well, and then be able to get on the sidelines and kind of rest up, let the other guys play.”
Take Tee Higgins as another example. The junior wide receiver hauled in a 58-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence on Clemson’s second offensive snap of the game and could have had a huge night with more opportunities.
Instead, Scott knew it was best for the team to take Higgins out sooner than later, and the star wideout was more than OK with the coach’s decision.
“I went and asked Tee… I said, ‘You want to go one more series? I really think I want to go ahead and pull you out.’ And he said, ‘Hey, let Joe (Joseph Ngata) and those guys go play,’” Scott said. “It’s great to see the veterans stand up there and really cheer and be engaged and pull for that next group when they went in there. I think that means a lot to them.”
One reason why the Tigers have a lot of selfless players on their roster? Clemson looks for that type of attitude on the recruiting trail.
“We make sure when we’re recruiting guys, that we’re recruiting guys that are coming in that understand that it’s about the team more than any individual, and we’re here to win games and develop a roster,” Scott said.
Clemson played 111 players against Charlotte, the most in a game in school history, and Scott knows that will be beneficial in the long run as the Tigers continue to try to build competitive depth.
“The season gets long,” he said. “We want to be at our best if we earn that opportunity, and part of that’s developing your roster and rolling a lot of guys.”
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with Fanatics. This is great news for Tiger fans as they have the officially licensed Clemson gear.
The Clemson Insider will get a portion of all sales so get ready for another championship season by ordering your Clemson gear today and help support TCI.