Offensive depth chart: Elliott names the starters for Kent St.
|Thursday, August 24, 2017, 8:38 PM- -|
CLEMSON – Fall camp is over and the Clemson players and coaches are focusing on the opener against Kent St., and depth chart news dominated the discussion following Thursday night’s practice.
"It's going to be C.J. Fuller. He finished up last year second behind Wayne (Gallman). All summer and spring he's been the number one guy and he held his own in camp,” Elliott said. “The next guys will be practice to practice and day to day until we get to the game, but right now you've got (Adam) Choice and (Tavien) Feaster battling out to be the second guy. I think all three of them are deserving of playing time and it's a much better situation than in the past. We've got a lot more depth with those three guys that are all capable of having quality reps."
Freshman running back Travis Etienne is also pushing for playing time.
"As a runner, he's a guy that I don't want to mess up as a coach. He's one of the most special talents I've had considering (Andre) Ellington, (Roderick) McDowell, and all those guys. He's very natural,” Elliott said. “As a runner he's there, but getting into position to protect the quarterback as fast as we play, it's hard to be situational and just putting him in to run the football but he's making progress every day. He came out of a system where everything is new to him. The way we communicate the play calls is new to him. Identifying defense is new to him but he's a smart young man, it's important to him and I anticipate him some time this season."
However, Elliott said that Fuller wouldn't necessarily get all the snaps – the coaches will go with the hot hand.
"Definitely, if one of them gets the hot hand then we want to lean on him but I think all three of those guys, especially the older guys, are deserving to play in that game and again it's going to depend on how hot they are and when they get their opportunity,” Elliott said. “It's tough too when you're rotating guys too, like Choice for example, he's a rhythm guy. He has to get in there and play a couple snaps and get in his rhythm and sometimes it's tough just coming off the bench and I think all three of those guys deserve to play and we'll see how the course of the game goes.
"When Wayne first got here he had an opportunity and situation where he had a very short leash and Choice was right on his heels and throughout the course of practice and in the game, he determined that in being the guy that got the majority of the snaps and I anticipate that all these guys will get an opportunity and if one wants to become the alpha dog and wants to be the guy who gets the majority of the snaps, it's going to be up to them and how they play and how they practice."
Sophomore Tavien Feaster wasn’t as consistent as Elliott wanted him to be in camp.
"Well you know the situation where Choice missed a little time and Feaster having an opportunity to solidify that and had some good practices but still wasn't as consistent as I had hoped he would be down the stretch and kind of made that decision a little bit easier for me, but at the same time he's deserving of playing,” he said. “All three of those guys, it's a different situation. I don't see as much separation as Wayne may have had on those guys in the past. All three of those guys are ready to play and realistically anyone could go out there and be the starter but C.J. was the most consistent through the course of camp and he did lay his claim on being the first guy to run out there."
"It's a battle every single day between those two, it's been that way and Anchrum has made some strides and put himself in the pole position but Pollard's not giving up and he's battling every day. Coach Caldwell will go through every practice, play by play to determine who is going to run out there first."
Tight end battle
"Right now Milan (Richard) is running out there at that position, he solidified that but you've got guys like Shadell (Bell) who is pushing every day to get more reps and you've got Cannon (Smith) who is a veteran guy. Then you've also got J.C. Chalk who has shown some flashes. I think Milan will be the guy who runs out there throughout course of the game and give those other guys opportunity. Again, it's like getting position, you earn your playing time in practice but if you also go out in the game and perform that's also a benefit to you."
On his comfort level with the offense
"I think so. I feel really good with the way they’ve progressed. Obviously, there were a lot of question marks coming in, but to see Kelly (Bryant) step up and take command, it looks like the guys are rallying around him. He's got a ton of playmakers. The way that we performed in the last scrimmage having the opportunity to move the ball versus our defense which we know is going to be one of the best in the country gives you a lot of confidence. Now we just have to go in and get the details of the game plan for Kent State and get ready to play."
"Those are the first three then I'd look for Amari (Rodgers) early, look for Cornell (Powell) early, look for T.J. Chase early. Again, we're a tempo team so we want to grind that snap count up so obviously you've got to have a starter at wide out but you've really got to have some solid backups playing eight snaps and one guy at a position can't do it all."
When will we see Tee Higgins
"He's another one, too ,but again, Diondre Overton's really come on so he's really, really battling. I'd anticipate the plan is to play Amari and Tee, I'd imagine you'd see those guys out early in the flow of the game-hopefully early in the game. We can't take anything for granted and come out like it's the biggest game of the season because it is the biggest game of the season and as we perform then those young guys will get an opportunity."