Man in the Mirror: Travis Etienne looking inward for improvement


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Etienne looks for daylight against FSU last season
Etienne looks for daylight against FSU last season

Knowledge is key for Travis Etienne.

Etienne, Clemson’s standout sophomore running back, came out of the last padded practice of the spring Monday night with a grin on his face.

Although he had an impressive freshman year with 766 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, Etienne admitted there were still some things he needed to work on. Pass protection was an area of concern for Etienne, but he has apparently come a long way in the last six months.

“I have definitely come a long way. Just to be in the position to get the guy, and just being there to stop him, and for me giving up a sack,” Etienne said. “I’m definitely where I want to be technique-wise, I got a little more to clean up, but I definitely made a huge improvement.”

Etienne told TigerNet he has learned from the mistakes of his freshman year, including one resulting in quarterback Kelly Bryant being hit hard in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.

“Just made me realize I have to get better in that area, and take a look in the mirror and worry about what I need to worry about, and not really focus on everyone that’s around me,” Etienne said. “Everyone's going to do their job, so just focus on what I’ve got to do and I’ll be a better player.”

According to Etienne, his knowledge of the playbook has also improved from last season.

“I’ve grown a lot knowledge-wise, just learning the playbook and knowing different things, knowing what coach is talking about, and knowing why I have to do it, not just what to do but why,” he said.

Etienne’s fellow running back, Tavien Feaster was also a topic of discussion.

Last season Feaster and Etienne had a combined total of 1,435 rushing yard and 20 touchdowns. Etienne says the duo push each other in practice, and the sky is the limit for their abilities.

“Coach splits it up pretty evenly in all the backs, and gives us all the same amount of reps, just out there seeing what everyone can do,” Etienne said. “I mean I feel like we can be as good as we want to be, the sky is the limit. We just go in here and workout and just attack it. It’s all up to us, our mentality and how we take on the season.”

Clemson’s spring game is coming up Saturday, and Etienne says he has one job - show the coaches they can trust him.

“Just show the coaches that they can trust you and do your job,” Etienne said. “This is the last time they really get to evaluate us before fall camp, so they want us to go out there and earn their trust, do your job, and not have any missed assignments or little things like that.”

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