Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit

Print

by - Senior Writer -
Travis Etienne was fresh for Clemson's College Football Playoff run
Travis Etienne was fresh for Clemson's College Football Playoff run

The images will stick in the minds of Clemson players as long as the Tigers play football.

There were Travis Etienne’s fresh legs bouncing off Alabama defenders early in the Tigers’ win over the Crimson Tide in the National Championship in January. Walk-ons were getting valuable playing time against previously undefeated NC State. And two years ago, the Tigers ran over and through a tired Alabama defense on the way to the school’s first National Championship since 1981.

Yes, Clemson plays a lot of players. And as the depth continues to blossom with talent across the board that trend will continue.

In the Tigers’ 41-7 win over NC State last October, the Tigers played 54 players in the first quarter. Clemson wound up playing 84 in the game, a game that had ACC Atlantic Division title implications. Instead of another nail-biter in the series, however, the Tigers simply put the nail in the proverbial coffin early.

On that same late October day, a talented Alabama team listed 44 players as having seen the field in a 58-21 victory over Tennessee. Oklahoma listed 49 during an easy 52-27 win over TCU. That’s right – Clemson played more players in the first quarter of its win than either of those two College Football Playoff participants played in the entire game and played 40 more players than the Crimson Tide.

No wonder Clemson was the fresher team in January.

“That has really been part of our formula. That is something that Coach Swinney has spent a lot of time really trying to instill in our program,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said. “We want to be able to play a lot of different guys. I think we played maybe the most of any of the teams that were in the final four last year. We played close to 71 guys per game on average.”

Scott said that formula holds many benefits.

“That helps you two-fold. It helps you during that season – we’ve played 59 games the last four years, so we are playing almost 15 games per year,” he said. “That becomes a long year when you get towards December and January. So to be able to keep guys fresh for an entire year is a benefit. And then if we ever have an injury or if guys graduate and move on you aren’t putting somebody out there that hasn’t played. But to do that, you have to recruit very well and have guys that can go in and win for you. We are at a place now where we are able to benefit from that.”

Head coach Dabo Swinney says he thinks all of his guys deserve to play.

“I just know that I play as many guys that deserve to play as much as we can,” Swinney said. “You might have one guy that gets 80 percent and one guy that gets 20 percent, but that 20 percent is really critical to the development of your team and that player as you go throughout the course of the season. I think it’s huge by the end of the year when you have a fresh team, a team that’s still got a lot of tread on their tires.”

During the 2018 season, Clemson played an average of 72.5 players per game. That number was good for first place among Top 25 teams. That’s right – Clemson obliterated most of its opponents and still used a majority of the roster. Georgia was second at 65.6 players per game and Florida was third at 62.8 players per game. Army, Fresno St., and Cincinnati were the only other college programs to average 60 players per game.

In looking at the four CFP semifinalists and those that were close to making it, Alabama averaged 55.7 players per game, Ohio St. averaged 56.9 players per game, Oklahoma 52.4, Notre Dame 55.4, and LSU 57.2

Bottom line: If you want to play no matter where you reside on the depth chart, go to Clemson.

SPECIAL THANKS TO CLEMSON FOOTBALL SID ROSS TAYLOR FOR THE STATS!



Comment on this story
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
WATCH: Hunter Renfrow finds super rare football card while opening up packs
WATCH: Hunter Renfrow finds super rare football card while opening up packs
Former Clemson TE lands with Bucs
Former Clemson TE lands with Bucs
Clemson forward suffers torn ACL
Clemson forward suffers torn ACL
Swinney talks 'challenges' for NCAA in changing model to pay players
Swinney talks 'challenges' for NCAA in changing model to pay players
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 19) Author
spacer TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
TigerNet News
spacer I love our system.
CootSmackdown16®
spacer Re: I love our system.
clemsontiger2002
spacer All good points.
CootSmackdown16®
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
clemsontiger2002
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
Tiger_tK
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
whatweeatin
spacer They will. Saban has already moved away from a total smash mouth
CootSmackdown16®
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
mhuyser
spacer Propaganda to distract us from Baseball...fire Bill Wilhelm
LeverBeach85
spacer SSHHHHHHHHH!***
treeclimber
spacer We THREE Deep
nosmelC®
spacer The whole season was just a practice season getting ready
BengalBilly
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
ZeeGantt®
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
Tim317
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
8992Tiger
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
Harley®
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
cofctigerincola®
spacer Lots of bragging these days
CUatFike00®
spacer Re: TNET: Tigers whipped Bama with fresh legs: Swinney's formula works to everyone's benefit
westerntigerfan
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Features
Breaking
Daily Digest