Clemson Football: Who will step up behind Wayne Gallman?


 Wayne Gallman has stepped up greatly for Clemson football this season, but who will create some depth behind him? Let’s take a look at the running backs.

One of the biggest surprises this year has been how well Wayne Gallman has run the football. Through three games, Gallman has carried the ball 53 times for 310 yards and three touchdowns. That is an average of 5.85 yards per carry and he has carried this Clemson offense through much of the first part of the season. Overall, Gallman has established himself as a confident number-one guy that is capable of carrying the ball 20-25 times a game. The problem, however, is when he comes out the game.

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Who is going to carry the load when Wayne Gallman needs a breather? Who can keep the running game noted as a threat when he is out? That question has yet to be decided.

Obviously, Deshaun Watson has begun to carry the ball more. Watson rushed the ball 12 times for 54 yards and looked impressive in doing so. He looked confident and healthy, which is a great sign for Clemson football fans going forward. However, a lot of his yards came off the read option play with Wayne Gallman. The Tigers need to establish at least one other guy that can manage the rushing attack when Gallman is not in the game.

Those candidates? C.J. Davidson, C.J. Fuller, Tyshon Dye, and Zac Brooks.

C.J. Davidson, according to the coaches and the depth chart, is the clear-cut number-two guy right now. He was the only other back to get carries against Louisville, but his numbers were unimpressive as he had four attempts for just nine yards. Davidson has 15 carries for 48 yards on the year. He has proven to be a hard runner at times and is extremely fast, but has not been able to separate himself, at least on the game field.

C.J. Fuller has carried the ball 11 times for 44 yards this season. That is an average of 4.4 yards per carry, but did not see the field all that much against Louisville. He could be the type of north-south runner that the team needs in their backfield, but has not gotten through with the coaches to this point in the season.

Tyshon Dye was the highest ranked running back in his class a few seasons ago. He has shown bursts of what he is capable of, but has not been fully healthy in a while. Dye had a case of “fumble-itis” in fall camp and that hurt his trustworthiness with the coaching staff. On the season, Dye has carried the ball just seven times for 24 yards and two touchdowns. Tyshon Dye was used in more short-yardage situations than anything, but I believe he’s still getting his legs back under him and getting in football shape.

Who does that leave? Zac Brooks. Brooks was the expected starter of last year’s running back group in 2014 before he was injured. He recovered from his injury, but obviously didn’t make a big splash in fall camp as he finished tied with Tyshon Dye and C.J. Fuller on the depth chart behind C.J. Davidson and Wayne Gallman. Brooks, however, may have looked the most impressive on the stats sheet as he has carried the ball eight times for 53 yards. That is good enough for third on the team, just behind Deshaun Watson and Wayne Gallman.

In addition to his impressive running in the Wofford and App State games, Brooks is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. This can be instrumental in getting the offense going. He is fast and strong and has the ability to be the number-two guy.

Through three games, Zac Brooks is my choice for second-string running back. I know all of these guys are capable, but I would like to see what Brooks can do against competition like Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in the coming weeks.

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I know it probably won’t happen, but it would be nice to see him in there a little bit more to see what he can do.

Bottom line, the Clemson football offense has an established starter at running back in Wayne Gallman. What they are in need of, however, is a solid number-two guy that can come in and give him a breather.

To get that guy, you’re going to have to get him carries. There’s no way a running back can carry the ball three times and truly be ready. It takes getting into a rhythm and being lathered up. That is something this offense needs to create within the next few games.

It will open up the passing game as well as give you another option in the rushing attack. It will be interesting to see which back steps up this week and proves they can be that guy.

What are your thoughts, Clemson football fans? Who would you have in the two-deep hole and what do you want to see out of the backup running backs? Comment below!

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