Midterm Report: Running Backs
The Clemson running game showed promise at the end of last season. In the offseason, Rob Spence was hired as the new offensive coordinator. Spence was expected to bring a more emphasis on the running game to the Clemson offense.
The new rushing attack started off well in the opener against Texas A&M. True freshman James Davis rushed for 101 yards on 19 carries in his debut as a Tiger. The Tigers controlled the game on the ground for 37 minutes on their way to victory.
In the second game of the year, Reggie Merriweather reminded folks that he is a good running back in his own right. On a key third and seven, Merriweather raced 37 yards to give Clemson the go ahead touchdown. The duo combined to rush for 157 yards on the day.
When Miami came to Clemson, they were determined to put the game on Charlie Whitehurst’s shoulders. Miami blitzed as many as nine guys to stop the Clemson rushing attack. Miami held Davis and Merriweather to 20 yards on 15 carries.
Neither were able to break the 100-yard mark against Boston College or Wake Forest, but they put up a combined 257 yards in the two games.
The rushing attack has not reached greatness, but there is promise. James Davis has the potential to be every bit as good as advertised. His performance against TAMU had many fans thinking New York in two years. He has cooled off since then, but he did rush for two touchdowns against Wake Forest. Davis has rushed for a net of 290 yards, giving him a 58.4 yards per game average.
Merriweather has been a rock all season. Never once did Merriweather hang his head, when Davis was named the starter. Merriweather just kept working and earned his job back against Wake Forest. Merriweather has the respect of his teammates and coaches. He will likely earn his second start of the year against NC State, but he will continue to split carries with Davis.
This duo has produced to start the season, but they will be counted on to continue to deliver in the second half.