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
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,"
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."
Kicking problems for the Tigers?
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