Mama Tells Spiller: Be Patient!

CLEMSON – The entire college football world knows of the special, god-given gifts Clemson tailback C.J. Spiller has. However, through the first three games of the season, that same world is waiting to see them unveiled.

After nearly rushing for 1,000 yards last year and averaging 7.3 yards per carry, he's found the early going tough this year, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. Spiller has carried the ball 26 times for 85 yards this season.

However, nothing was more shocking that what transpired last week against Furman, when he had nine rushes for minus-1 yard.

There have been theories as to why he's struggled so much. Is he dancing too much behind the line of scrimmage?

"I really haven't been doing too much dancing, but it's part of my game," Spiller said. "If I feel something's not happening in the hole, I try and make something happen."

Maybe the problem is the offensive line, which isn't opening up big enough holes. After all, fellow star running back James Davis is averaging 15 yards per game less than what he did last year.

"I'm not going to say the line isn't opening up holes — those guys are doing a great job blocking," Spiller said. "But, there's an experience factor, which has been a key for the running game. (Last year's line) played together for a long time, and that's why they opened up holes like they did. Once those guys start playing with more games, the running game will improve."

Davis offered Spiller some advice on what to do in the meantime when there aren't any running lanes. Instead of dancing or trying to create something, just give full steam ahead.

"C.J., he's a guy who likes to make a play," Davis said. "He can stop on a dime and reverse fields, but the lanes just aren't open right now for him. …

"He's trying to do the same thing he did last year, and he's got to change his style up, lower his shoulder against some of those guys. They watch a lot of film and they see what you can do. They try to play sideline to sideline with C.J., knowing he'll try to outrun them."

According to Spiller, Davis and running backs coach Andre Powell, the problem is he's simply not being patient enough. He's trying to do too much every time he gets the ball.

"I have to sit there and wait," Spiller said. "The patience thing is coming up everywhere, even with my mom. She doesn't know a lot about football, and even she said, ‘Be patient, it's coming.' When it comes from your mom, you know you've got to be more patient. …

"Instead of trying to just make something happening, I'm always trying to get the big one. I have to be more patient and explode through the holes. I'm not going to rush it, I'm going to play my game. I'm hearing patience everywhere."

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