Will Shipley gets a fair amount of favorable publicity as the lead back for Clemson football in the post-Travis Etienne era.
He’s also received his fair share of criticism for things he can (pass blocking) and can’t (he’s not Etienne) control.
It was obvious from the go Saturday in Tallahassee that Shipley was the focal point of the game, whether it was the 20 rushing attempts that netted 121 yards, 6 targets in the passing game which resulted in 6 receptions for 48 yards or the 69-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
Add it all together and Shipley totaled 238 all-purpose yards on the evening.
At times I’ve wondered about Shipley’s usage, especially when the Tigers are without Kobe Pace. That’s nothing against Phil Mafah, who I think is a very good running back, it’s just with two mouths to feed instead of three I thought we’d see a heavier dose of Shipley.
We got that Saturday night, just in a different way – 20 carries and 6 receptions.
The old saying is that those short passes are an extension of the running game and that was true against Florida State as Shipley had 60 yards after catches and only 48 yards receiving, meaning he caught passes behind the line of scrimmage and gained yards as his average depth of target of -2.0 yards per PFF.com shows.
Simply put, the Tigers relied on Shipley and he delivered.
Will Shipley leads Clemson football in rushing, kickoff returns and yards after the catch
On the season Shipley has 16 receptions on 17 targets for 136 yards an average of 8 yards per target and after the Florida State game he leads the Tigers in yards after catch with 156.
Oh yeah, he also leads the Tigers in rushing (567) and kickoff return yardage (137), which puts him at 840 total yards or 120 per game.
No wonder they spell him at times in the backfield, even with just two healthy running backs.
It’s really the smart thing to do, considering all the ways Shipley contributes on offense and just how big a part of the equation Shipley is.