June 19, 2019

Rushing Metrics – 13 Games

A look at the rushing metrics for Clemson through 13 games.

2 Minute (ish) Recap: Wake Forest

Clemson moves to 6-0 with a ho hum 28-14 victory over Wake Forest. Bryant finds Cain, Choice powers in (again), Ferrell sacks, Etienne scores and Nyles Pinckney, Hunter Johnson and Cannon Smith join the parade.

2 Minute (ish) Video Recap: Boston College

Kelly Bryant “waltzes” in, Trayvon Mullen picks, Choice powers through, Etienne for 50, there’s KB2 again, and who could forget the Etienne spin, all this in a 34-7 victory over Boston College to move the Tigers to 4-0.

#TouchdownTuesday – The 5 Clemson touchdowns from the ACC Championship Game

#TouchdownTuesday – The5 Clemson touchdowns from the ACC Championship Game.

Rushing Metrics – 12 Games

Metrics for Clemson rushers through 12 games.


Featured image courtesy gwinndavisphotos.com.

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.

#TouchdownTuesday – Florida State Edition

The four Clemson touchdowns vs. Florida State

Rushing Metrics – 9 games

Clemson rushing metrics through 9 games.

Have not had time to watch film to include broken tackless and YAC. Hope to catch up soon.

Rushing Metrics – 7 games

Rushing metrics through 7 games.

Rushing Metrics – 6 games

Rushing metrics complete through 6 games.

Successful rush:

1st down – 50% of yards needed for a first down OR a TD.

2nd down – 80% of yards needed for a first down OR a TD.

3rd and 4th down – First down or touchdown.