Spring Practice Insider Notebook

CLEMSON - It what may be the most highly contested position battle in quite some time, the starting quarterback spot will be a hot topic of conversation for Clemson fans this spring.

After what seems like years, quarterback Willy Korn finally took the field for the first time as a Clemson Tiger Saturday morning on the first day of spring practice. Not surprisingly the reviews were mostly positive, but Korn told CUTigers.com afterwards he still has plenty of work to do to accomplish his goals.

"It's just exciting to finally be out there, running the offense," he said. "I felt like I did a pretty good job today. Procedure-wise and cadence-wise, and checking into the right plays I think I did a decent job and those were some of my main goals.

"As far as my passes go I threw a couple of slant passes behind and I threw a couple of out-routes behind but it's just day one so there's a long way to go."

Of course, Korn enters the spring No. 4 on the depth chart behind Michael Wade, Tribble Reese and the current starter- Cullen Harper.

Saturday he even practiced at the No. 5 spot behind a little known walk-on. Korn said it's all a part of the daily competition for the starting spot.

"We've basically been competing since I've gotten here with the meetings and everything else," he said. "Everyday has been a competition but it's a friendly competition. They've been helping me out as much as possible."

Meanwhile the forgotten player through all of this quarterback talk is Harper.

As fans and the media continue to focus on Korn's debut in a Clemson uniform, its important to point out that it is Harper who currently sits atop of the depth chart.

"We've got a long ways to go but it was a good first day," Harper said. "But for me, it's about being the best I can be and wherever that puts me is where I'll be. I'm working on all aspects of my game, every throw, every drop ... I'm just continuing to work hard and we'll see where that leads me."

Harper, who saw playing time in just four games last season (14-of-20 passing for 155 yards and two touchdowns), also admitted that he's had a different feeling in regard to the upcoming season. After all, this is the first time in his Clemson career he has a realistic opportunity to claim the starting quarterback position.

"The last few years there wasn't really that shot for me to come out here and be the starting quarterback and now there is," he said. "That makes you a little more driven. I'm just ready to get going. This is my first spring out here on top of the depth chart and it's exciting."

James Davis said it was a little weird not having former running backs coach Burton Burns on the field Saturday. Burns, who left Clemson to take a similar position at Alabama, was replaced by former North Carolina running backs coach/special teams coordinator Andre Powell.

"It is a little weird," Davis said. "But we are happy we got Coach Powell here. We've been teaching him and he's been teaching us. We've all been learning on the fly."

There has been growing speculation that Powell will also be named special teams coordinator some point this spring, but Saturday Tommy Bowden said he will be evaluating his special teams the next four weeks before determining if Powell will have additional responsibilities.

"Andre Powell has some experience handling a lot of special teams responsibilities so I'm going to make some evaluations this spring and see what else I'm going to get him involved in other than kickoff returns," said Bowden. "But I want to evaluate everything during spring ball first.

Last year it was C.J. Spiller signing autographs after practice, this year not surprisingly it's Korn. Bowden joked with the two after practice, "See C.J. now they are all waiting for him and not you," he said with a laugh. ... Korn stayed approximately 10 minutes after practice Saturday signing autographs and taking pictures with children. ... Former Tigers Gaines Adams, Will Proctor, Reggie Merriweather and William Henry were all on hand to watch Saturday's practice session.

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