Running Backs Make Good Progress
Clemson headed into the Texas A&M game with a running back by committee approach. Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden wanted to see one of the backs separate himself in a game situation. James Davis delivered a 19 carry 101 yard performance, and the days of a running back by committee may be numbered.
"One of these four running backs will separate. You would like to have four equal guys, but no, they are not all equal. Each one has different strengths and they all have their weaknesses. A pecking order will be established at some point in time. I can't see us doing a running back-by-committee every single game."
One area Coach Bowden wants to see improvement in the running game is in the red zone. The Tigers were unable to capitalize on the goalline twice and settled for field goals. Duane Coleman saw the ball around the goalline against TAMU, but you can expect to see a change this weekend.
"We need to look at who our top performers have been. Reggie Merriweather has been one of our top performers in the redzone, and I probably made a mistake by not putting him in a position to see if he could do it or not. He has been our most productive back down there."
The talk leading up to Texas A&M was many believed the Aggies running game would wear down Clemson’s smaller defensive line. In the end, it was Clemson that controlled the clock and wore down the Aggies. The hard nosed running of the backs paid off in the end.
"All of our guys are hard runners, but some guys just have a knack for moving a pile. Reggie I believe has that knack. It may be because he has had more at-bats but also because of his body type. We will evaluate that more this week."
As for Davis’ performance, Coach Bowden was impressed with his toughness.
"I think James Davis ran better from tackle to tackle than what I had anticipated. He did a pretty good job on his assignments too. Burton Burns did a good job in his preparation."
Clemson’s new found running game will be a key to the Tigers’s success at Maryland on Saturday. The Terrapins have question marks on the defensive line and could not stop Navy's rushing attack last weekend.