Before Clemson broke for spring break last week, offensive coordinator Tony Elliott spoke to the media about the progress of the offense in spring drills at that point in practice.
Obviously, no one knew the Tigers’ would get just nine practices as Clemson University has now canceled all campus activities and closed campus until May 8, while the ACC has canceled all athletic competition and activities for the remainder of the academic year, which ends on June 30 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, before the coronavirus started to affect the sports world and everything else as we know it, Elliott, who also coaches Clemson’s running backs, spoke about having Travis Etienne being back for his senior year, as well as what it all means for the running back room which is full of talent.
Besides Etienne, who won the ACC Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019, the Tigers return the team’s second leading rusher from a year ago in Lyn-J Dixon, as well as sophomores Chez Mellusi and Michel Dukes. Redshirt senior Darien Rencher decided to return to play football for one more season, as well.
In the summer, 5-star running back Demarkcus Bowman (5-9, 190) and fellow signee Kobe Pryor are expected to enroll in school. If all holds true through the summer, it will mean the Tigers will have a ton of talent at the running back position heading into fall camp.
Elliot on having Travis Etienne back
“For Travis I wanted to make sure I educated him best on my understanding on what is ahead, then the decision is up to him. Really wasn’t surprised, being around Travis, the young man he is. He cares about being a leader in his family, how much he cares about his education and where he values football. To have a guy like that come back as a coach makes you a better coach.”
Elliot on younger guys behind Travis that were expecting to step into his role this year
“For some of those younger guys they had to make a decision. They probably came here thinking Travis will make the transition after three years and then would have the opportunity to compete.”
Elliot on how Lyn-J Dixon handled Etienne’s return to Clemson
“Lyn-J is one who is really just figuring out life. He is a guy who is very competitive and wants to play. He was geared up for his opportunity to naturally step into the role. Really proud of him, he decided ‘I’m going to step back and mature and grow’ and see it as an opportunity to play with a pro and learn how to prepare like a pro. Really take advantage of his opportunity. Not worry about the quantity of his reps but more about the quality. Really proud of his maturity, he is ready to challenge and compete.”
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