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Clemson's Snap Distribution - Are Backups Providing Depth?

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The Tiger secondary has star power, but lacks depth.
The Tiger secondary has star power, but lacks depth.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Independentmail.com's Brandon Rink has done something very cool this season, listing how many snap each Tiger is taking after each game. With the help of the depth chart from ourlads.com and piktochart.com's graph maker I made a graph which shows how many snaps are going to Clemson starters vs. backups.

Depth is thin

As an aside, the numbers for the backups on offense are inflated by our very deep wide receiver corps and on defense by a reasonably strong DT rotation. The numbers have also been boosted by garbage time vs Wofford, App State and GT.

Let's go further, and break it down by position group. First, our Offensive Line

Next, Wide Receiver

We (Stil)l Too Deep

We (Still) Too Deep

On to the Tight Ends

Running Backs

Finally, Quarterback

Our offense is deeper than the defense is right now, but some of this is an illusion. Our WR, and to a lesser extent RB and TE groups are deep. The OL and QB are not. None of this is particularly surprising, but seeing how much of the offensive depth is an illusion created by the wide receivers is striking. This also only accounts for total snaps taken, not production, where the drop off at, say, QB, is not shown nearly dramatically enough.

On to the defense, which will be broken up by DT, DE, LB, CB and S.

To be honest, defensive tackle is probably the only position on defense where I am not worried about depth. Not only are backups like Pagano productive, there are a variety of contributors here.

Lawson and Dodd have been beasts, but losing Ogundeko hurt us here, still, this is a position of relative strength. Two backups are at least capable of taking snaps here. The same ceases to be true at Linebacker.

Clemson lists three starters at linebacker. Two, Goodson and Boulware take most of the snaps, with Blanks a distant third. The only backup of any note whatsoever is Dorian O'Daniel.

It's worse at Corner, and in the secondary in general. Alexander and Tankersly have played well. They will have to continue to do so, as the only backup (Baker) has managed to get a paltry 56 snaps.

The thinnest unit of our defense comes last. I chose not to count special teams snaps so as to show who is actually on the field when we are on offense/defense. As it stands now there is hardly any depth whatsoever contributing in our secondary.

At QB and LT we do not have any backups capable of playing for a playoff caliber team. The defense played only six backups vs. Notre Dame. There is a reason ND was able to get back into that game beyond just ScElliot's playcalling. At S, CB and LB we have one backup of any serious note. This is not good. Starting 5-0 is amazing, but depth is perilously thin and we are an injury away from a potential crisis pretty much anywhere on defense. Knock on wood and/or pray.