Tony Elliott may not coach the running backs at Clemson anymore, but he still coordinates the Tigers’ offense. That means he still knows what is going on at running back and according to Dabo Swinney’s longtime assistant coach, Clemson’s two freshmen running back are showing out a little bit in practice.
Elliott was asked following Wednesday’s practice to speak on the depth chart at running back and who might give senior Lyn-J Dixon his toughest challenge for the starting job.
No surprise Will Shipley’s and Phil Mafah’s names came up. However, it was Mafah who stole the show during Wednesday’s practice.
“Today, in our work, Phil Mafa, he flashed,” Elliott said. “Everybody is like. ‘Man! That is a big guy!’ Until today everything had been controlled, but we got out of the way and he popped a big-long run. You saw that explosion that he had.”
But do not worry, Shipley is doing well, too.
“Shipley, every time we see that cat, he is flying around hundred miles an hour,” Elliott said. “The best thing is there is competition there and we got nine more days for those guys to really compete.”
Though the freshmen are doing well, the two guys who could give Dixon a run for his money are Chez Mellusi and Kobe Pace.
“Kobe is a guy that caught everybody’s attention early on (last year). It was a situation where so many guys had more knowledge than him,” Elliott said. “So, I see he is going to be a guy that going to be pushing Lyn-J at the top.
“Chez was starting to come into his own in the back half of the season with the opportunities he was getting, so now he is pushing up there at the top.”
Elliott says new running backs coach C.J. Spiller will have an opportunity to really set the stage on how the competition is going to go the rest of the spring and into the summer.
“The great thing is C.J. has an opportunity to kind of set the stage the way he wants to and make all of those guys go and compete,” Clemson’s offensive coordinator said. “One thing I do know is there is some competition going on.
“The guys I would say our showing the most right now will be Chez and Kobe.”
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