TNT: Dynamic running back duo of Tavien and Travis explode on BC
|Saturday, September 23, 2017, 8:52 PM- -|
CLEMSON – TNT exploded on Boston College Saturday afternoon.
Freshman running back Travis Etienne and sophomore Tavien Feaster carried much of the load for the Clemson offense Saturday, combining for 29 carries for 186 yards in No. 2 Clemson’s 34-7 victory over Boston College.
The duo’s effort was part of a rushing attack that gained 353 yards against the Eagles, and the nickname TNT (for Tavien and Travis) began to float around the press box as the time ticked off the clock and the Tigers improved to 4-0.
During postgame interviews, Etienne said he didn’t have a nickname that he preferred, and when he was asked about the TNT moniker, he simply smiled, showing a mouthful of braces. Feaster was walking out of the interview room, heard the nickname, and flashed a big grin and gave two thumbs up, showing his approval.
Etienne scored two touchdowns – both in the fourth quarter – and Feaster said those scores were set up by his battering of the defense for three quarters
“We're just taking our shots on the defense. I wear them down and he comes in there and he's going to take it the distance,” Feaster said. “I joke with him, but he made a heck of a play.”
Feaster made the first start of his career Saturday, and he said that running backs coach Tony Elliott is recognizing his hard work.
“It was a great confidence booster because he sees the things I'm doing, so it was just great for him to recognize those things and give me the chance,” Feaster said.
He then said that while each running back wants to start and get the majority of the snaps, he knows that Etienne is fun to watch.
“He practices the same way. That's a guy when he gets the ball in his hands, it's amazing what Travis can do. He's a very special talent,” Feaster said. “That kid is going to be great. I didn't know much about him when he got here, but I got to know him through camp. He's a great guy. You get a little bit of everything with Travis. He's funny. He's humble about himself and he's a special player.”
Etienne, the Louisiana native that committed to Clemson late in the recruiting process, says the increased snap totals are a result of hard work.
“I just came in here and taking the opportunities I get and making the most of them. It says a lot about the hard work that I've been putting in and the coaches trusting me,” Etienne said. “Since day one Coach Swinney and Coach Elliott trusted me to come in here and make big plays. I feel like them trusting in me just boosts my confidence. Just knowing that they have my back, just helps me go out there and play.”
Elliott demands that his running backs be able to block and pass protect, and he said that Etienne made a sight adjustment in the third quarter that showed his progress. Elliott also said he feels like he can trust Etienne more, and the freshman said he knows the importance of protecting the quarterback.
“I've been putting a lot of time in that in working on my blocking,” Etienne said. “I knew I could run, but being able to block, that's where I need to work on and get better because at the end of the day, the quarterback is the face of the team and we have to protect him to get those drives and make those throws. Working on that prepared me.”
Etienne finished his interview by saying he understands his role in the offense and thinks that all four backs can continue to contribute.
“Of course. Him (Tavien), C.J. (Fuller) and Adam (Choice). We knew it was going to be a war in the trenches, but during the first quarter they went out there and were just pounding and pounding and getting the defense,” he said. “That let me go in there and be fresh. With them wearing them down, it lets me go in there fresh and it opens things up for me.”