Freshman flash as offense shines in first practice


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Elliott likes what he sees out of Tee Higgins
Elliott likes what he sees out of Tee Higgins

CLEMSON – The first day of fall camp is in the books and offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is pleased with the progress his offense made from spring practice.

However, Elliott was cautious to not throw out too much praise because it’s just one day.

“We'll go back and evaluate the film to see how they really did, but overall it was a good start,” Elliott told the media Thursday evening. “It's just a start, but I thought the tempo was good, the guys were moving around and doing the little things right. It looked like it was good retention from the summer. Some of the young guys flashed a little bit. I know Travis Etienne broke some runs today. It was good to see him move around, but at the same time, he has some opportunities to get better. It's only day one of installation. We're moving fast. Coach (Swinney) isn't going to keep us on the field long, so we're moving fast.”

Several starting jobs are up for grabs, including running back, and Elliott said every person in the rotation is capable of grabbing the first string reps.

“This is probably the best competition we've had since I've been here. There are three guys that legitimately can end up being the starting tailback, and by the looks of it there's going to be a little bit of pressure put on by the freshman (Travis Etienne) too,” Elliott said. “He looks very, very natural back there. They know what it takes to be the starter. They know the expectation in practice. They know the expectation to play in the games, and I think they're all capable. Now, we just have to see who wants it the most in practice.”

The quarterback battle is thought to be a three-man race between Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper, but Elliott said newcomer Chase Brice has the skillset to make it a four-man competition.

“That's something we're anxious to see. It just depends on how fast he (Brice) can process it,” he said. “From my perspective when I saw him go in there, he didn't look overwhelmed, but it's day one. We already have seven days in a row of installation planned, so we'll see him then. It's just determined on how fast can he process it and can he bridge that gap. The other guys had this in the spring and the summer so this is their second time through it, and it's just his first.”

Other Notes

Tavien Feaster

“I did notice he had a better sense of urgency and it looks like he's paying more attention to the little things. He's just growing up and maturing. I think his body feels good. He's carrying the extra weight a lot better than I anticipated. I'm excited to see how he's going to progress.”

Hunter Johnson

“From my perspective, I noticed his demeanor looked a lot more confident. He just looked a lot more comfortable. Nothing looked like it overwhelmed him.”

Kelly Bryant

“I just saw a confident demeanor about himself. It's day one, so it's just a repeat of what we did the first day of spring. They've been doing it all summer, so the real test is going to be as we start piling up the days. The ball looked like it was coming out of his hand it was where it needed to be. All of the decisions looked like they were the right decisions. His confidence was there. We saw him pull it a couple of times. I'm anxious to see the tape to validate what I thought I saw from the sidelines.”

Freshman receivers

“I thought Amari Rodgers really caught my attention. I think everyone knows what Tee Higgins is. Tee is going to be an unbelievable player. You saw him make some catches. He's a combination of size. His weight surprised me from the weigh in because I didn't realize he was that big. Very smooth. Amari was probably the one that caught my attention the most. He looked very natural and very smooth. He got a lot of reps today.”


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