The freshman learning curve

SUNSET - In each of his first two seasons as an assistant at Clemson, Tony Elliott has had one freshman running back in his meeting

This year, he'll have two -- Tyshon Dye and Wayne Gallman.

Helping the two former four-star prospects adjust to the college game could be a little bit tricky since both arrived to Clemson's hurry-up, no-huddle spread attack from wing-T offenses in high school.

"One thing that I learned, talking about [Mike] Bellamy, it was the same thing playing a freshman. I learned that I had to adapt to them a little bit and help them figure out ways to correlate what they did to what they're doing now," Elliott said. "The biggest thing is understanding how to identify the defense."

As is the case with just about every other freshman running back entering the college game, learning how to become a reliable pass protector will play a critical part in earning early playing time.

"There's an art to blitz pickup," Elliott said. "It's not just running to the edge and blocking a guy.

"You've got to know when he's coming, what the secondary is telling you. You've got to know how to change protections. That's the biggest transition for those guys."

Everyone knows what those guys can do with the ball in their hands.

"They're natural with the ball. We recruit you to run the football…my job is to get you from where you align to the line of scrimmage as efficient as possible, [and] then you do the rest," Elliott said. "The actual playing the game part of it is not as big a transition as it is being able to the play the game within game."

Just over two weeks before the start of preseason camp, Elliott believes Dye could be ready to see the field this season.

"He's bigger than any back that I've had since I've been here," Elliott said. "He provides, definitely, a different element. If I had to say right now, you could look at him as being a package guy, kind of like we did with Bellamy a couple of years ago."

Gallman is a little bit more of an unknown.

"Gallman probably played more defense than he did offense up until his senior year, where he really blossomed as a tailback," Elliott said. "His upside is very, very high. It's just going to be a function of where is he at when I get my hands on him and how fast he can pick up the fundamentals and techniques that are associated with the position." Top Stories