Korn Preparing to Play

CLEMSON - As another offseason workout comes to a close on a hot July afternoon, freshman quarterback Willy Korn gives his 1,000th interview before even taking a live snap as a college quarterback.

One can only imagine the number of different ways the same question can be posed over and over again.

"Willy do you think you'll see the field this season?"

"Willy would you be okay with redshirting your freshman year?"

"Willy what are your realistic expectations for the upcoming season?"

Korn has heard it all before, yet with each question asked, he takes the time to patiently provide the best answer he can, providing small bits of new information along the way.

Truth be told, it's uncommon to find a true freshman with the type of poise Korn has off the field. How that translates on the field is anybody's guess, but Clemson fans are hoping Korn will be ready for the challenge if he's called upon.

Not surprisingly, it appears Korn is more ready now than ever before.

"A lot depends on what happens during fall practice but I'm competing everyday to be the starting quarterback," Korn said. "Skills and drills and 7-on-7 this summer have been extremely helpful for me. It has helped me get a better grasp of the offense in a short period of time.

"The entire team has been out here working hard and we've had nearly 100% participation with the summer workouts and that's obviously important. It's been a good summer so far."

With the first official practice of the 2007 season scheduled for Aug. 4, Korn will begin No. 2 on the depth chart behind redshirt junior Cullen Harper.

But as each day passes by, it seems more likely that Korn will spend at least part of the year on the field, not just holding a clipboard.

"I am expecting to play," Korn said. "There is plenty I still have to work on with my reads and the offense but that's the mentality I'm taking right now."
And while many have speculated that Korn could redshirt if Harper is able to strengthen his position on the depth chart in August, sitting the year out is the furthest thing from his mind.

"Cullen has been working hard just like I have," he said. "And you never want anyone to suffer an injury but as the backup quarterback right now, I have to think to myself, 'I'm just an ankle injury away from being the starter.' So I have to be ready to play no matter what happens during fall practice and that's the mentality I have right now."

Of course, Korn has said all the right things when it comes to the quarterback battle from day one, but don't be fooled. As big a competitor he is, he's fully expecting to play.

He's not anticipating having a sit-down conversation with Tommy Bowden or Rob Spence at the end of camp to decide whether or not he should redshirt this season. By that point, it should be clear he will see the field in some capacity, possibly as soon as the first game.

"I am expecting to play," he said. "There is plenty I still have to work on with my reads and the offense but that's the mentality I'm taking right now."

Even his teammates are aware of what Korn has been able to accomplish in a short period of time.

"I'd give Cullen the edge right now," said Rendrick Taylor. "But Willy has done a great job learning everything so quickly. You can tell he's starting to pick up the offense better since the spring.

"Cullen has the edge but Willy is out there doing his thing and he's doing good. You can tell he's going to be a good quarterback here."

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