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Snap Count Review - Clemson vs. Pittsburgh

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I’ve fallen and I can’t get up

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the first time since 2014, Clemson has three losses before post-season play. While not quite uncharted territory, it has certainly been quite a long time since the Clemson faithful has experienced this kind of a season. There are hard questions facing Dabo in the weeks ahead, and many are hoping there will be roster and staff changes during the off-season.

However, until such potential changes are made, all this team can do is prepare each week and play the opponent in front of them. Clemson lost this week despite having the “upper hand” with the underdog role, but next week is a new game. All snap counts come from the official Clemson report found here; numbers do not necessarily denote official plays, but rather non-special-team snaps.

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 52 437
Taisun Phommachanh QB 13 30
Will Shipley RB 33 154
Kobe Pace* RB 22 188
Phil Mafah RB 9 60
Justyn Ross* WR 57 327
Beaux Collins* WR 55 153
Ajou Ajou* WR 52 187
Will Brown WR 13 22
Dacari Collins WR 7 26
Will Swinney WR 2 14
Drew Swinney WR 2 13
Davis Allen* TE 41 222
Sage Ennis TE 21 104
Jake Briningstool TE 4 9
Braden Galloway TE 2 132
Jordan McFadden* OL 65 449
Walker Parks* OL 65 439
Will Putnam* OL 65 357
Mason Trotter* OL 62 139
Marcus Tate OL 47 317
Matt Bockhorst* OL 19 390
Trent Howard OL 3 29

Injuries and the COVID-19 bug continue to hit this team hard, as Clemson was without a number of starters from their preferred lineup. Freshman receiver Beaux Collins was given the start in place of Joseph Ngata (out with COVID-19), with EJ Williams and Frank Ladson also missing due to injury.

At quarterback, those clamoring for the backup to play finally got their wish, although it was hardly the outcome they hoped for. After an ill-advised shovel pass was picked and taken to the house for six, DJ Uiagalelei was benched in favor of Taisun Phommachanh. The redshirt sophomore only went 3-7 for 23 yards but did lead the offense to a field goal on his first drive. Still, it was hardly the production some fans may have envisioned, and DJ ended up coming back into the game after sitting out a few series.

At the offensive line, starting veteran and team leader/spokesman Matt Bockhorst went down with an ACL tear just 19 snaps into the game. Freshman Marcus Tate (47 snaps) was called upon once again to play in his spot, with Trent Howard seeing action in only his second game of the season with 3 snaps. Clemson will have to produce a new starting lineup for the OL once again next week against FSU.

Running back was one of the few bright spots on offense, as Shipley made his surprising return just weeks after what looked like a possible season-ending injury. Although he dropped a crucial pass that could have given Clemson the momentum it desperately searched for all game, Shipley did well with the carries he was given and will be called on even more next week with Pace confirmed out with COVID-19. That means two freshman running backs will be starting next week for Clemson.

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
Xavier Thomas* DE 61 302
Myles Murphy* DE 47 300
Justin Mascoll DE 33 139
KJ Henry DE 31 178
Kevin Swint DE 3 35
Ruke Orhorhoro* DT 41 294
Etinosa Reuben* DT 39 113
Tre Williams DT 38 215
Tyler Davis DT 25 96
Payton Page DT 10 43
James Skalski* LB 74 403
Barrett Carter* LB 46 108
Baylon Spector LB 32 340
Trenton Simpson LB 17 291
Andrew Booth* CB 79 394
Mario Goodrich* CB 63 292
Malcolm Greene CB 20 101
Fred Davis CB 20 61
Sheridan Jones CB 13 238
Nate Wiggins CB 5 70
Nolan Turner* S 84 366
Jalyn Phillips* S 71 174
RJ Mickens* S 52 175
Tyler Venables S 24 164
Andrew Mukuba S 12 315
Ray Thornton III S 10 29

The cracks are starting to show here and there on defense, despite turning in another respectable effort. Injuries, multiple short drives from the offense, and wear-and-tear from the amount of play being asked of the defense are taking their toll.

Murphy (47 snaps) and Thomas (61 snaps) have established themselves as the alpha defensive ends this season, and both have reached 300 snaps on the season already. Behind them, Mascoll and Henry have filled in as the primary backups. Justin Foster has unfortunately been ruled out for the remainder of the season, a tough break for a guy who worked his way back to playing after giving up the sport for a time.

Ruke Orhorhoro (41 snaps) has been the stalwart at defensive tackle as starters Bryan Bresee (out for the season) and Tyler Davis have battled injuries and health. Davis actually made a return to the rotation with 25 snaps but has yet to clear 100 on the season. Tre Williams has also done well in his playing time and has 215 snaps already. I had hoped we would have seen more of DeMonte Capehart by this point but is still working his way into the rotation.

Linebacker snaps were more of the same with Skalski carrying the load to the tune of 74 snaps, although freshman Barrett Carter recorded a season-high 46 snaps. Spector (32 snaps) and Simpson (17 snaps) filled in the rest.

At cornerback, Booth led the way with 79 snaps after missing last week’s game, followed by Goodrich with 63 snaps. The corner rotation has been fairly solid with four jerseys tallying at least 100 snaps through seven weeks. Even freshman Nate Wiggins is approaching 100 snaps despite only playing in three games so far - a redshirt may still be the plan for him.

Safety playing time has been even more diverse as five players have logged at least 150 snaps on the year. Super senior Nolan Turner (84 snaps) and freshman Andrew Mukuba (12 snaps) have commanded the starting roles, although Mukbua had his lowest snap count of the season against Pitt. Behind them, Phillips (71 snaps), Mickens (52 snaps), and Venables (24 snaps) have carved out solid roles in this defense as well.

Every week is a battle with this team and all you can ask out of them is to keep fighting. FSU next week is a huge opportunity to restore some confidence in a battered and bruised team reeling from its third loss of the season. With Wake Forest and U of SC on the horizon, there are still plenty of opportunities to reclaim some dignity and finish this season strong.