Can't wait for carries

Can't wait for carries

CLEMSON - Redshirt freshman running back D.J. Howard has a severe case of the munchies.

The 5-11, 195-pound Lincoln, Ala. native is hungry for a real carry in a real game.

And, according to him, so are the rest of the Clemson running backs.

"Everybody is hungry. Everybody wants to play," Howard said. "Demont [Buice] and I are coming off a redshirt. We haven't played ball in two years. We're eager to play. We're ready to get back to that experience of being out there and helping. We're very eager to get out there and show our abilities."

Throughout preseason camp, head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Chad Morris have maintained that all five scholarship running backs will occupy a role this fall.

One's certain -- publicly, at least -- Andre Ellington is the feature back.

From there, Mike Bellamy, Roderick McDowell, Buice and Howard will have a share of carries.

"I really can't say, as far as rotation goes, but I can say that I will get some playing time," Howard said.


D.J. Howard, who originally committed to Auburn, signed with Clemson so he could play running back. (Roy Philpott)
Preseason camp injuries to Bellamy [shoulder] and Buice [foot] temporarily cut the rotation down to three. Bellamy's back and Buice remains questionable for the season opener against Troy.

"Like coach said, when one is down, somebody is going to have to step up, whether you want to or not," Howard said. "Coach Swinney says, when you get an opportunity, take advantage of it. "We've had a couple of guys out, so that gives me an opportunity to step up and take advantage of every opportunity I get, and give the coaches a better evaluation of me. Every chance I get, I take full advantage."

He took full advantage last Saturday during the final stadium scrimmage of preseason camp.

With Bellamy and Buice out, and Ellington limited to just one series, Howard rushed for 53 yards on eight carries.

But, according to Howard, he needs to do more to gain the coaches' trust.

"I've still got to get better on certain things," he said. "Coaches are going to have learn to trust me, as far as ball security. That's where I'm lacking, as far as playing time. If I get better ball security, I know I can gain their trust."

Howards needs to gain their trust. After all, he's too hungry not to.

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