Kicking problems for the Tigers?

CLEMSON - All you hear about in regards to Clemson's success on the football field this year is who will be the next quarterback.

The battle between Willy Korn and Kyle Parker is already getting intense, but unlike the Clemson faithful, head coach Dabo Swinney's No. 1 concern isn't the quarterback situation. From what he has seen the first three days of spring practice, kicker is his top concern.

"If have had one disappointment the first three days, it has been the kicking situation," he said. We are a long way away to being where we want to be at kicker. We're just looking for somebody who wants to be the guy."

The Tigers are hoping Richard Jackson, who was a Parade All-American in high school, could be the next guy and replace Mark Buchholz without much of a drop off, but so far Jackson and freshman Spencer Benton have struggled to be consistent.

"That's one of my top concerns," Swinney said. "Everyone is worried about quarterback and I am too, but we have good quarterbacks. I feel like we have one or two guys that we can go line up and win with.

"I'm concerned at kicker with what I have seen so far as far as going and winning the game. This is Spencer's first time getting to compete and Richard is getting his opportunity and both those guys have been equally inconsistent so we might have another (Chris) Gardocki.

"We might have Dawson Zimmerman doing everything, I don't know."

Gardocki was an All-American kicker and punter for the Tigers from 1988-'90, and left Clemson for the NFL after his junior season. He played 17 seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005.

Zimmerman is currently Clemson's starting punter and was expected to challenge maybe to be the guy to do kickoffs this fall. But the rising sophomore spent Wednesday's practice doing both.

"Hopefully (kicking) will get better the second half of the spring," Swinney said.

TIME TO HIT: With spring break coming Thursday for the football team, Swinney was excited to see his team out there hitting in full pads Wednesday, his only regret, however, is he can't do it tomorrow.

"We did some good things today drill wise to try and get headed in the right direction," he said. "It is frustrating to because you are just getting going and you wish you could practice tomorrow, but we have to take a break."

Swinney was pleased with some of the toughness his team displayed in full pads, but he knows they still have a ways to go.

"There is no substitute for great effort and toughness," he said. "You have to practice that way. We will try to do that all spring to see who can block somebody, see who can get off the block, see who can run behind their pads and who can compete." Top Stories