Tigers do not like being labeled soft

Tigers do not like being labeled soft

Football

Tigers do not like being labeled soft

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Though Dabo Swinney wants to see his offense play a little cleaner and limit the mistakes, such as turnovers and penalties, one thing he was pleased with coming out of Friday’s scrimmage at Memorial Stadium was the play of his running backs.

The Clemson head coach said he loved the play of his running game, as the Tigers ran the ball well in the two-hour scrimmage.

“They all made plays. They all ran tough. They all ran physical,” he said.

Running the football with authority has been a point of emphasis this spring, especially coming off a season in which the running game had one of its least productive seasons at Clemson in recent memory.

Even housing the ACC’s all-time career rushing leader in Travis Etienne, the Tigers managed just 153.8 yards per game on the ground in 2020, down 87 yards per outing from the 240.4 yards it averaged in 2019.

In Friday’s scrimmage, the Tigers ran the ball well in every situation, coming off the goal line, in goal line and short yard situations and just in the scrimmage in general.

“We emphasized the run offensively. We really wanted to challenge our defense,” Swinney said. “I was just really impressed with every single one of them. We got a very good group.”

Though he did not go into any specifics of who, Swinney liked the push of his offensive line in the scrimmage and then how tough and physical his running backs ran with the football.

“I just thought they were tough. We had some guys make some big, big plays and some long plays,” he said. “But all of them showed up. Every single one of them. Not a single one of them running backs was disappointing today.

“There is a lot of competition at that position. That is a group that has a chance to be special.”

The Tigers will return to the practice fields behind the Allen Reeves Football Complex in Clemson on Monday, as they begin their final week of spring drills. Clemson will have two practices this coming week before concluding the spring next Saturday with the annual Orange & White Spring Game at Death Valley.

Kickoff for the game is set for 1 p.m., and it will be televised on the ACC Network.

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