The Clemson running game looked for a go-to back throughout the first half of the 2014 season before Wayne Gallman took over. And once he did, he really stepped out in front and became the leader of the running back group.
Gallman finished the season with 769 yards and four touchdowns on 161 carries, and he added 24 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. Gallman played in all 13 games, and he made nine starts.
But he really shined in the final four games of the season when he had 486 yards and two touchdowns on 89 carries. And he’ll just be a sophomore this fall, meaning there is plenty of more time for growth. That starts this spring, and he will need to continue his development and not rest on what he accomplished last season.
Fans have been waiting for Tyshon Dye to be healthy enough to contribute for some time.
They finally saw a small glimpse of what Dye can be at the end of the season. Dye had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries in four games. He made his debut against Wake Forest with a couple of carries at the end of that game and had 124 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries against Georgia State in his breakout game.
This spring is huge for Dye, and if he can continue to stay healthy, he make a move to get more carries this fall, even in a more-crowded backfield moving forward.
Plenty of depth
Remember Zac Brooks? It’s easy to forget how important he was going to be to this team last season. But after redshirting with a foot injury, he will get a chance to make a statement this spring. He’s a valuable player (go back and watch the video of his touchdown catch against Georgia in 2013 and the end of that game for evidence), and he can get right back in the mix with a solid spring.
Adam Choice looked like he was rounding into a quality back before he suffered a torn ACL against Boston College in Oct. 18. You won’t see him this spring other than rehabbing, which will be important to getting him back on the field to help the team.
Then there are C.J. Fuller, who redshirted in 2014 and seems to have a bright future, and C.J. Davidson, who had 248 yards on 64 carries and three touchdowns last year. He needs to be more consistent and reliable as a senior, starting this spring.
Running backs coach Tony Elliott got a promotion after the season to co-offensive coordinator, and he and Jeff Scott had a stellar debut in their new jobs in the Russell Athletic Bowl win over Oklahoma.
Now, they have to turn their focus to a new spring, a new team and then a new season. How they work together will play a big part in the team’s success in 2015, and that kicks into high gear during the spring.
It also will be interesting to see any changes or tweaks they make to the system. Will they feature the running backs more in short-yardage situations and not use Deshaun Watson as much in those spots to keep Watson healthy? Let’s hope so.
Key stat: Gallman had his best game of the season in Clemson’s biggest game of the season – the win over South Carolina in regular-season finale. Gallman rushed for 191 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Spring breakdown: RBs
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