As in previous years we are taking a look at the snap counts of each position for Clemson football. Rather than starts, number of snaps is a good indicator of true experience. All of the numbers used in this are through the Orange Bowl, they do not include the national championship game. These snap totals also only include snaps on offense or defense, special teams participation is not counted. Players in bold will not be returning for 2016.
Running back can always be an interesting position when you look at snap totals. Some years we see multiple backs with significant carries and other years one back is the guy. For Clemson 2015 was a year with one RB as the guy. Wayne Gallman got the most snaps and it wasn't even close. In 2014 Clemson had 4 running backs with over 100 snaps. This year we had two , Gallman and Zac Brooks. The problem is Gallman had over 700 snaps, not the best thing for a running back that excels because of his physicality.
|Player||Year||Position||Wofford||App State||Louisville||Notre Dame||Georgia Tech||Boston College||Miami||NC State||FSU||Syracuse||Wake||South Carolina||UNC||Oklahoma||Total Snaps|
|C.J. Davidson||R Graduate||RB||12||13||12||0||8||0||5||0||0||0||9||0||0||0||59|
|Tyshon Dye||R Sophomore||RB||9||6||0||0||6||3||14||0||0||0||9||0||0||0||47|
|C.J. Fuller||R Freshman||RB||11||11||0||1||7||4||12||0||0||0||32||10||1||0||89|
|Wayne Gallman||R Sophomore||RB||36||39||59||56||42||50||42||63||63||60||0||57||88||81||736|
For 2016, RBs will have an opportunity to pick up snaps from the departure of Brooks and C.J. Davidson as well as a hopeful reduction in Gallman's workload. Ideally Gallman would be in the 600 snap range. That would reduce his snaps by a good 10-12 per game which could be some excellent experience for another player.
Out of spring practice, the one name everyone keeps talking about is Tyshon Dye. We said the same thing last year and it didn't quite work out, but Dye does seem to be more at ease and healthy in spring ball this year. Ideally we see Dye take the snaps that were given to Brooks and Davidson. Then a reduction in Gallman's snaps comes from Tavien Feaster. If Dye works out we have experience players covering all of the snaps from last year and there isn't pressure on Feaster having to step up immediately and perform. The staff can bring him along slowly and make sure he understands the offense. Remember that the most important part of the RB's job in this offense is blocking. If the RB can't block he will get Deshaun Watson killed. The number of snaps Dye and Feaster will play is directly related to their blocking ability, otherwise we'll only see them used in specific run situations.
Adam Choice is the other name we'll hear competing for the backup job. QT mentioned that he looked good in the spring game, and he's now had over a year to recover from injuries. If he continues to progress and show out he'll get some snaps as well.
Overall RB sets up extremely well for Clemson this year. We have an excellent starter and a lot of talent to back him up. If things come together well it is possible the running game could be even better than last year when it was an unexpected strength for Clemson, and we haven't even talked about Deshaun Watson's ability to run the ball.