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Snap Count Review: Clemson vs. Boston College

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Comeback edition baby

NCAA Football: Boston College at Clemson
D.J. Uiagalelei runs against Boston College.
Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

Survive and advance.

Perhaps that mantra has never been more applicable than during this season, where there seem to be very few guarantees anymore. Give credit to this squad, a group which faced numerous injuries to key players, the absence of their team leader due to COVID-19, and an 18-point deficit at home to a quality BC opponent. To fight back and prevail against those odds is incredible - do not let anyone tell you “oh it’s just Boston College.” Make no mistake, that was a monumental effort by the Tigers in the second half to secure the victory.

Largest comeback in Memorial Stadium history. Survive and advance.

Clemson Offensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
DJ Uiagalelei* QB 81 133
Travis Etienne* RB 67 294
Lyn-J Dixon RB 7 89
Amari Rodgers* WR 74 338
Cornell Powell* WR 70 313
Brannon Spector* WR 37 115
EJ Williams WR 26 163
Joseph Ngata WR 5 98
Braden Galloway* TE 51 274
Davis Allen TE 43 194
Cade Stewart* OL 81 474
Matt Bockhorst* OL 81 470
Jordan McFadden* OL 81 469
Will Putnam* OL 81 455
Jackson Carman* OL 81 448

This was a slim week for offensive snaps in terms of building depth - only four players beyond the starting eleven received any snaps. The entire offensive line handled all 81 offensive snaps, creating some unusual looking uniformity there. DJ Uiagalelei predictably was on the field for every single offensive snap, giving him his first real taste with the starters. No matter how this season turns out, Saturday was an incredibly valuable experience for DJ heading into next season. This game will no doubt build his confidence and could end up being the silver lining of Trevor’s absence.

After logging 31 snaps last week, Joseph Ngata was missing for most of this game, only reaching 5 snaps; Frank Ladson Jr. was nowhere to be seen (I heard there may have been pre-game injuries but don’t quote me on that). That opened the door for Cornell Powell to have his biggest performance yet, hauling in 11 receptions for the first 100-yard game in his career (105 yards). Powell impressed me in this game, catching several lasers from DJ; EJ Williams also had two nice catches.

The tight ends combined for a single reception, although I’m unsure how much that was due to the offensive gameplan/DJ’s abilities (maybe the film review team who knows much more than I do can answer that question). The team’s leading receiver was (surprise!) the legendary Travis Etienne, who had 7 receptions for a whopping 140 yards and a touchdown. Once again the running game struggled to really get going, and ETN’s versatility as a receiver continues to be a major asset in these games.

Miscellaneous thoughts on the offense at this point in the season:

  • Curious to see how next season pans out at the wide receiver position. The top three contributors this season so far in Etienne, Rodgers, and Powell are gone, and we have yet to really see the 5-star potential we hoped Ladson and Ngata would bring. EJ Williams looks very promising, and I’m curious to see how depth at this position continues to develop.
  • Offensive line depth is still a concern in my mind - 82% of all offensive line snaps have gone to the 5 starters - only five backups have even logged 50 snaps so far.
  • ETN is the glue of this offense. No Trevor? No problem, just turn ETN loose for 224 total yards of offense. Will miss this guy next year.
  • What more can you ask of DJ? Fantastic debut from the freshman - poise, accuracy, power, you name it. We will be in good hands next year.

Clemson Defensive Snaps

Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Player Name (* indicates start) Position Game Snap Count Season Snap Count
Myles Murphy* DE 46 222
Justin Mascoll* DE 41 227
KJ Henry DE 26 217
Xavier Thomas DE 13 61
Bryan Bresee* DT 57 248
Jordan Williams DT 23 123
Nyles Pinckney* DT 21 159
Baylon Spector* LB 64 296
Jake Venables* LB 63 233
Trenton Simpson LB 29 95
Keith Maguire LB 1 67
LaVonta Bentley LB 1 48
Derion Kendrick* CB 41 152
Andrew Booth CB 36 208
Sheridan Jones* CB 31 226
Mario Goodrich CB 17 78
LeAnthony Williams CB 4 60
Nolan Turner* S 63 303
Lannden Zanders* S 63 271
Joseph Charleston* S 54 214
Tyler Venables S 9 108

While it wasn’t the best performance we have seen this season, the defense absolutely delivered in the second half, all things considered. James Skalski, Tyler Davis, Mike Jones Jr., and Fred Davis II were all held out this game, and replacing those players is no easy task. Time of possession in this game was almost a flat 50/50 split - give credit to this unit for stepping up when we needed them most. (66 yards given up in the 2nd half!)

Six of the starting eleven defenders saw season-high snap counts in this game, with several others approaching their season-highs. Bryan Bresee, Myles Murphy, and the other underclassmen continue to impress - 6 of the top 10 leading tacklers on this defense are sophomores or younger. The future is bright here, no doubt.

Xavier Thomas being ejected is tough but not necessarily game-changing - the bigger impact on the game was the fact that it negated the turnover on that play. He will sit out the first half against Notre Dame this week but should still reach his expected number of snaps through the second half.

Looking ahead to Notre Dame - fingers crossed that Tyler Davis and Jones Jr. can return to the lineup. Skalski is out for sure which will hurt, but that loss can be lessened if Davis and Jones Jr. are able to play.