The Clemson football RB room is one of the deepest in the country. Could the Tigers use that depth to their advantage in 2020?
The Clemson football program received a 10-star commitment when Travis Etienne announced that he’d be returning for his final year of eligibility instead of entering the NFL Draft.
With Etienne back, the Tigers now return everyone at running back from a year ago and will add two talented freshmen to the mix this summer.
When you have play-makers like Lyn-J Dixon, Chez Mellusi and Michel Dukes behind Etienne, and you’re about to have 5-star Demarkcus Bowman and 4-star Kobe Pryor added to the mix, there’s a good problem created: How is the Clemson football coaching staff going to get all those play-makers on the field?
Etienne is obviously going to get his fair amount of touches. Then we’ll see a pecking order formed, most likely with Dixon leading the way followed by some of the other running backs.
But what if the Clemson football offense elected to add a couple of different formations this season as a way to get more running backs on the field? What if we saw the Tigers come out in a two-RB, shotgun set instead of lining up with the typical one running back look?
Actually, it could work to their advantage.
If Clemson elected to go with ’21 personnel’ or even ’20 personnel,’ the Tigers would have an extra space to get a running back on the field. In 21 personnel, you’d see Clemson line up with two running backs, a tight end and two wide receivers. Can you imagine Etienne and Dixon lining up in the same backfield with Justyn Ross, Amari Rodgers and Braden Galloway as the other skill position players?
What about Etienne and Bowman? We could also see Mellusi and Dixon. Dukes and Pryor. There are all kinds of possibilities.
The advantage for Clemson is getting the play-makers on the field and keeping the defense honest. In a set like this- and obviously you wouldn’t use it all the time- you’d still have receiving options, but the defense would have to account for two running backs who can explode for huge runs or become receiving threats out of the backfield.
Adding a set like that would open up the door for these running backs to get more carries and would keep Trevor Lawrence safer in terms of his carry amount and pass-protection at times.
It’s obviously not something that we’d see a ton of, but it would be a nice formation to add to the mix when you consider the amount of talent the running back room possesses in 2020.