Elliott leans on the running game in stadium scrimmage

by - Senior Writer -
Bowman looks for room to run in between the tackles. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)
Bowman looks for room to run in between the tackles. (Photo courtesy of CU Athletics)

The Clemson offense was without several playmakers during Saturday’s stadium scrimmage, but offensive coordiantor coordinator Tony Elliott said he still likes what he saw.

The offense was missing starting running back Travis Etienne, a few starters along the offensive line and a plethora of wide receivers, so Elliott leaned on the running attack. That includes backup Lyn-J Dixon.

“Lyn-J Dixon is a lot more confident and he’s playing fast, but he just looks he looks composed in pass protection,” Elliott said. “He can communicate now with me in my language and pass protection. He can communicate with the quarterbacks. He can anticipate where pressures are. It looks like the game is really, really slowing down for him. He’s starting to understand and really internalize what his running style is. I’m starting to see him start to drop his pads a little bit more, be a little bit more patient, not always try to hit a home run. I like to use that baseball analogy – he has more of a level swing.”

Elliott is also keeping a close eye on freshman running backs Demarkcus Bowman and Kobe Pace.

“Those guys are continuing to do good, continuing to progress,” Elliott said. “I’m excited to look at the film to see exactly how they were doing. But I thought overall, we ran the ball well, and they had a couple of plays where they were in there and they showed some flashes.”

Bowman is showing off his speed, but Elliott wants to see what the former track star can do in between the tackles.

“Demarkcus, he’s more of a scrimmage type of guy,” Elliott said. “When we’re out there running around in practice, things are moving a lot faster. But when he is out there on his own, back in his element, you saw him put his foot in the ground, make a couple plays. He looked good back there doing some kickoff return stuff for us.

“You saw Bowman have a chance to put his foot in the ground, and what I wanted to see was in a live situation, how he was going to run between the tackles, and he put his foot in the ground and he drove his nose up in there, which was good. Then you saw him hit the second level a couple of times, and it’s just a matter of time before he breaks one.”

Pace is a bigger back who isn’t afraid of contact.

“I thought Kobe looked really good between the tackles, like I thought he would,” Elliott said. “Big, physical guy. Did get the edge a time or two. Kobe just continues to show his consistency. He’s a big guy, but he’s very smooth. That’s probably why he gets some of the comparisons to a James Davis. Very soft hands.”

Overall, Elliott is pleased with the freshmen backs as they navigate the rigors of their first college camp.

“Pleased with where they are,” Elliott said. “Obviously, y’all know every year it’s always a challenge with them young backs because of the way our system is structured from a protection standout, from an alignment standpoint and just all the multiple route adjustments that we make in the passing game. It’s really a challenge for them. But I was encouraged to see those guys for a scrimmage. So, I would say both of those guys would probably be ahead of where typical freshmen are but still got a long way to go.”

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