Clemson Football is back. It may be nothing more than a glorified scrimmage but football is football and there’s a game being played in Death Valley on Saturday.
While there is never a whole lot you can take away from most spring games from an overall standpoint, that does not mean there are things that can be learned. Here are a few things to keep an eye on when it comes to the Tigers offense.
C.J. Spiller’s Running Backs: Who will show out from Spiller’s running back group? Many expect Lyn-J Dixon to go into the spring game as the “starting” running back for the White team but something to watch on Saturday will be just how well the other backs perform. Chez Mellusi now has a couple of years worth of experience and there’s the most veteran guy of the bunch Darien Rencher.
It will also be exciting to see how sophomore Kobe Pace, the two freshmen Will Shipley and Phil Mafah, as well as junior Michel Dukes on the Orange team do. One thing is for sure. The Tigers are in a position that many across the country would love to be in with all of the talent they have in the running back room.
Offensive Line: Hard to imagine this group being worse than it was at times last season. It will be interesting to see how Hunter Rayburn looks at center replacing last years starter Cade Stewart. Matt Bockhorst won’t play, meaning his reps will go to the younger guys. Not only does the starting five have to be better but developing quality depth is critical for the Tigers. Saturday could be a good gauge for where some of the players Clemson needs to step up are at this point in time. Guys like Mitchell Mayes, Paul Tchio, and Marcus Tate all come to mind. Not to mention Walker Parks as he transitions into a starting role presumably at RT and Jordan McFadden who will likely move over to LT.
New Era At Quarterback: This is D.J. Uiagalelei’s show now as the team moves on from Trevor Lawrence. The spring game will give Clemson fans their first look at the offense not being run by a much more experienced guy, but certainly not one without talent. It will be interesting to see how well Uiagalelei makes the adjustment and handles the pressure that comes with the transition.
Then there’s Taisun Phommachanh who has struggled since becoming a Tiger. It will definitely be interesting to see if he can change that as he heads into his third season in the Clemson offense. Especially since Hunter Helms has pushed hard since walking on. Both Phommachanh and Helms have to be ready. Clemson fans have already witnessed how fast one a quarterback can be sidelined after Lawrence missed two games due to safety protocols last year.