November 20, 2017

Bryant, Johnson & Cooper by Distance – The Citadel

Kelly Bryant, Hunter Johnson and Zerrick Cooper by distance against The Citadel (and Bryant for season).

Featured image courtesy

Advanced Metrics: Clemson 61 The Citadel 3

Advanced metrics from Clemson’s 61-3 victory over the Citadel on Saturday.

Inside the Numbers: Clemson vs. The Citadel

Inside the numbers of Clemson vs. The Citadel.

Rushing metrics & thoughts – 10 games

Any discussion of the Clemson running game has to begin first and foremost with Kelly Bryant’s contributions in this area of the game.  The numbers below include scrambles that ended up as positive yards, but not sacks.  In some ways that’s unfair and skews the numbers in Bryant’s favor, but the reality is that those scrambles result in hidden yards. Gaining 5 yards on a scramble is really a 10 yard gain because you also avoided a 5 yard loss. Almost 47% of the time Bryant gains 5 yards, he’s broken 30 tackles and, as his 238 yards after contact shows, rarely goes down on the first hit. Oh and by the way – by weighted average he’s face tougher defenses than any of the regulars.

Travis Etienne has been a dynamic and game breaking true freshman that was almost an afterthought in the 2017 recruiting cycle.  Where would the Tigers be without Etienne and his 7.7 per average, 55% success rate, 15% explosive rate (12+ yards) and amazing 367 yards (59% of his total yardage) after contact?  The clip below showcases Etienne’s skills.  He breaks an attempted arm tackle 3 yards past the line of scrimmage, gets free, stiff arms a tackler at the 10 and gains 5 more yards for a 25 yard gain, 22 of which came after contact.

There are calls for more carries for Etienne and less for the others, but it’s clear that Etienne is fresh later in the games and that’s a huge advantage for both Etienne and the Tigers.  Would he be as effective with 22 carries?

Tavien Feaster didn’t have his best statistical game last week.  I’m a numbers guy, but if you look only at numbers you miss the nuances of the game.  Re-watching the game showed me that Feaster ran hard and tough and 17 of his 21 yards came after contact.  He softened up the Seminole defense (7 of his 9 carries came as the Tigers built a 17-0 lead into the 3rd quarter), allowing Etienne (and others) to rack up yards later.  Feaster’s success rate is the lowest of the 5 (including Bryant), but again – his carries typically come in the first half when the defense is fresher.

I’m one of the few on the Adam Choice bandwagon. I completely understand why he’s the 3rd (or 4th) option and he’s certainly not as explosive as Etienne or Feaster. I’m not saying he should take carries from those guys, I’m saying my world doesn’t end when he comes in the game.

Which running back leads the team in success rate? None other than the much maligned C.J. Fuller.  Sure, he only has 38 carries, but those carries have come against the best (on average) defenses the Tigers have played (for running backs). The least explosive of the backs, with a higher stuff rate, Fuller’s not going to get many carries and they’re not going to go for more than 10 yards often.  But if you need 5 or so yards or a reception out of the backfield he’s not the worst option in college football.

The Tigers are flush and full in the running game and that starts with the bruising 6’4, 220 pound Kelly Bryant, filters down to a guy who was given the sacred number 28, then a lightning bolt from Louisiana and “reserves” averaging 5.3 and 4.8 yards per carry. The options are plentiful and they all have their strengths and a few weaknesses. Never did I imagine Clemson would have a starting running back averaging 6.2 yards per rush and there would be calls for him to get less carries, but that’s where the Tigers are 10 games in to 2017.

Success breeds expectations and over the past few years as the Tigers have become a national power the majority of that success coming through the air. Wide Receiver U, 4,000 passing yards, 41 touchdown passes, highlight after highlight after highlight. It was good times and better times and then, in Tampa in January, the best time possible.

Tiger fans know the Tigers have won a National Championship with a pass heavy offense, but now question if the same can happen with the strength of the team being the ground game.

#ThrowbackThursday – 2013 Tajh Boyd finds Mike Williams for 6

In a 52-6 romp over The Citadel in 2013 Tajh Boyd finds Mike Williams for 1 of his 5 touchdown passes on the day.

Receiver Metrics – 10 Games

A look at the metrics for Clemson receivers through 10 games.


#TouchdownTuesday – Florida State Edition

The four Clemson touchdowns vs. Florida State

Kelly Bryant by Distance – FSU & Season

Kelly Bryant by distance of pass (from line of scrimmage) against Florida State and for the season.

Advanced Metrics: Clemson 31 Florida State 14

Advanced metrics from Clemson’s 31-14 victory over Florida State.

Head to Head: Inside the Numbers of Clemson vs. Florida State

All paws.