Braden Galloway's Return Gives Tony Elliott Core Part Of Offense Back
Throughout the Dabo Swinney era at Clemson, one of the key components on the offensive side of the ball has been the tight end position. The Tigers offense is at its very best when it has someone in that role to not just handle the blocking assignments in the running game but also flex out and stretch the field in the passing game.
Since Jordan Leggett's departure following the 2016 season, the Tigers have had trouble finding someone that can fill that role. The coaches were hopeful that Braden Galloway was that guy, but an unfortunate suspension in December of 2018 would cost him an entire year, leaving Clemson once again without a legitimate pass-catching threat at the position last season.
After being reinstated just before last season's College Football Playoff, the Clemson offense showed glimpses of just how dynamic it could be with Galloway on the field. As the Tigers prepare for the 2020 season, offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is counting on the junior tight end to play a pivotal role in the offense.
"You know the original identity of this offense, that position was a pivotal piece," Elliott said on Tuesday. "Go back and look at the Dwayne Allens, the (Brandon) Fords, and (Stanton) Seckingers, you know those kind of guys. Now you have that combination of size and speed, I think you're able to pick up some of the elements that may have been shifted from some of the receiver responsibilities."
Having missed so much time has taken somewhat of a toll on Galloway's development. While Elliott is thrilled to have him back, he also says he is far from a finished product.
"Still gonna have to continue to develop in the run game," Elliott said. "Because again, that's what gives us our flexibility to go from spread sets to two back sets without changing personnel. Really excited about him. I'm excited to get back to the core part of our offense with the tight end involved."
With the team facing so much uncertainty as they get ready for the upcoming season, Elliott is also focused on getting some of his younger players at the position ready to play. The coaching staff knows that depth could be as important as ever, and each and every player needs to be ready to go at the drop of a hat.
"As we go forward, we understand that this year right here will be all hands on deck," Elliott said. "Everybody's going to have to absorb their role, and then maybe be ready to step into another role, depending upon how things go going forward. So we got to have a plan."