Clemson University

After heart-to-heart talk, Clemson’s Tavien Feaster moving up the depth chart

Clemson running back Tavien Feaster had his best game of the season and had one of the best showings of his career this past weekend against Georgia Tech.

A conversation with co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott helped sparked Feaster’s turnaround.

The junior from Spartanburg rushed for 75 yards against the Yellow Jackets and averaged more than 9 yards per carry, two weeks after receiving only two carries and finishing with (-1) yards rushing at Texas A&M.

Elliott and Feaster had a “heart-to-heart” following the game against the Aggies, and Elliott has seen a new and improved version of Feaster ever since.

“He just wanted to know where he stood, and I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be honest with you. I think you can be special… (But) I can’t give you something that you haven’t earned. And in practice you’ve practiced better, but you’re still capable of practicing even better,” Elliott recalled. “The biggest thing for him is just attention to detail and intensity every day.”

That focus has been there as of late.

Feaster was No. 3 on the depth chart coming out of fall camp, behind Travis Etienne and Adam Choice. But he is moving up now and is currently No. 2 entering this weekend’s game against Syracuse, according to Elliott.

“I thought Adam had a better camp and he had earned the right to be in the No. 2 position. And I think once we got into the season Feaster was feeling a little bit better. His knee was better. And so his performance in practice picked up,” Elliott said. “And now because of his performance in practice, and not because Choice has done anything wrong, but his performance has warranted that he is the second guy to run out there in most situations. He’s getting more and more touches because he has that eye of the tiger.”

Elliott added that Feaster has practiced harder and played harder since having the conversation with Elliott after barely seeing the field against Texas A&M.

In the two games since Feaster has 18 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns. He is also doing the little things better that don’t always show up on the stat sheet.

“Since that conversation he’s been locked in. He’s a guy that’s super talented,” Elliott said. “All I want him to do is be his best, and I’ve got to push the buttons to get him to bring that intensity every day. He’s done that here for the last couple of weeks. And that’s why he’s been more explosive. He’s been more productive. And he’s been rewarded.”

The extra effort by Feaster is paying dividends for 4-0 Clemson. The Tigers played their best game of the year over the weekend against Georgia Tech, cruising to a 49-21 victory. Feaster and the running game were a big part of the win.

“Just go watch some of the plays, just watch the extra effort. Balls are thrown downfield and he’s sprinting,” Elliott said. “Just those little things are the core values within our program that when you’re in a competitive situation you’ve gotta give that to get those opportunities.”