Tavien Feaster: He's bigger, he's stronger and his confidence is back
|Thursday, July 20, 2017, 7:01 AM- -|
SUNSET – Tavien Feaster is bigger and stronger, and Tony Elliott is proud of the strides Feaster has made since the spring. But the one thing Elliott is most proud of is that Feaster has the confidence that he can be the Tigers featured back.
Elliott, Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach, sat down with TigerNet Tuesday at head coach Dabo Swinney’s media golf outing and said that one question dominates the conversation whenever he is around the fans.
But there is another question that comes in a close second.
“The question I get the most when I go out in public is, are we going to win another one? But the other question I get is about Tavien, and rightfully so,” Elliott said. “He's the highest-ranked guy that we've recruited, and he has the ability. He just came into a situation where you had an established guy who was the record-holder and very, very consistent. He (Wayne Gallman) owns a lot of records here, and he wasn't going to give that up without a fight. And then there were two other guys that we recruited that are very good players that he had to battle.”
Feaster arrived on campus as the nation’s top-ranked running back for the 2016 recruiting cycle, and many expected Feaster to step in and play right away. However, he suffered a shoulder injury in high school and waited to have surgery until February of his senior year, and the rehab put Feaster behind schedule.
“A lot of people didn't take into consideration that he missed the entire spring semester (of his senior season) after he had should surgery,” Elliott said. “He didn't run track and didn't do a lot and then the first time he was really able to get back into the weight room was when he showed up for summer school. And then you have six weeks to get yourself ready to go compete for a team that is eventually going to win the national championship. And now you're asked to do some things like pass protection and run inside.”
Feaster rushed for 222 yards last season—third on the team—on 37 carries over 12 games, but Elliott said Feaster has to learn how to run both inside and outside of the tackles.
“He ran inside in high school but he made a lot of his hay with the toss sweep and getting on the edge and using that speed. Well, everybody can run at the college level, especially the teams that we play, so it isn't as easy as just giving him the toss sweep and let him run to the edge,” Elliott said. “He has to be able to efficiently get through the first and second level and then he can showcase his ability.
“That takes knowledge. That takes understanding. He was very humble about it. He never once complained. He went to work and took the hard coaching. Some days he got mad at me because he thought I was unfair to him, but he knew I was pushing him hard to get him to a point so he could compete. Outside of our walls, there were people that probably didn't understand it. But inside our walls, they understood that this young man's confidence has to be built a certain way for him to be able to achieve the goals that he has for himself long term.”
Feaster spent time in the film room and the weight room, and will report to camp in two weeks at the 220-pound mark.
The confidence is there.
“He is looking the part. You see his confidence and the way he is carrying himself,” Elliott said. “He made a comment to me the other day about his bench press and how confident he was in that. And that illustrates to me that the suspicions we had early were right. He didn't quite have confidence in his upper body strength because he missed critical time of development with his shoulder injury. I think he's in a good place.”