Etienne not on awards list? Swinney says he wonders if media watches games
|Wednesday, November 27, 2019, 10:28 AM- -|
CLEMSON – The end of the regular season in college football signals the beginning of awards season, a season that leaves head coach Dabo Swinney scratching his head wondering if any of the voters actually watch the games.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne is quietly putting together a monster season. In 11 games, Etienne has rushed for 1,335 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 153 carries. That’s an average of 8.7 yards per attempt. He ranks fourth in the country in rushing yards despite having at least 80 fewer attempts than any other player currently ranked in the top five. He is presently in the midst of a school-record six-game streak of 100-yard performances and has matched the Clemson single-season record with two 200-yard games this season (doing so on only 12 carries and nine carries, respectively, in those two performances).
His yards-per-carry average is the best in the country among players with at least 100 carries, 1.69 yards of ahead of the player presently in second. He presently holds an 8.1 yards-per-carry average for his career, just shy of the NCAA record held by Army's Glenn Davis (8.26 from 1943-46) among players with 300 career carries.
However, Etienne’s name was missing from the Doak Walker Award finalists, and one of the reasons is that he lacks the total carries of the other running backs on the list. According to Swinney, it takes a special player to put his team first.
“I just think that's our culture. You recruit that, too - guys that fit the culture. I know Travis Etienne didn't make the finalists,” Swinney said. “If there's a running back award and Travis Etienne and isn't in the finals of it, I mean what a joke. Really. Just wait and see who gets drafted first and the type of career he's going to have. It's unbelievable. I think Travis is .2 yards is off the all-time record for yards per carry for a career in college football.
“He leads the country in yards per carry. He's got 65 less carries than anybody else that's in their top. 65 - so that's like four games for carries for Travis. Can you imagine what he would do with four more games? I don't know what the leader is but he'd be over that. This guy is off the charts special, but it just is what it is. He's the best back in the country.”
Swinney pointed out that quarterback Trevor Lawrence was bypassed for an ACC award last season.
“Trevor Lawrence didn't make First Team All ACC last year. I'm not sure who did but Trevor didn't,” Swinney said. “How'd that work out for Trevor? He did alright. He went on to win a national championship and I think at the end of the day that's what matters to these guys. We don't get caught up in all of the individual stuff.
“Some of these award things, they just kind of make me scratch my head. Tee Higgins, he's as good as we've ever had and an even better young man. All he wants to do is win. If there's a receiver out there better than him then everybody's got an opinion, but I'm taking Tee. When that draft rolls around, you'll see people line up to take him too. He's special.”
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was a Heisman finalist twice in his career yet never won the award.
“Don't y'all think Deshaun Watson should've won a Heisman? He was by far the best player in the country and he proved it, earned it on the field,” Swinney said. “I think if they waited until after the season to vote on it, it would have been pretty obvious. Half of these people who vote don't even watch the games. They just look at stat lines. Travis Etienne has had four carries in the fourth quarter in 11 games. If you really know what you're looking at, it's incredible how some of those things are decided. Trevor, is he even on any awards? I don't even know if he'll make First Team All-ACC this year. Didn't make the cut for the Davey O'Brien.
“We ain't worried about no awards. The only one we want (points to trophies). Every game we play in from here on out, they had a trophy out after the game for the rest our way and that's what our guys focus on. Anything else that comes with it, great, but nobody is distracted by that.”