Korn has his confidence back

CLEMSON - Clemson quarterback Willy Korn isn't the kind of guy that makes excuses for himself.

If he throws a pass that bounces off the hands of his receiver and is intercepted, he takes the blame for the interception, not his receiver.

If he fumbles the snap from center, even though he never properly got the ball, he takes the blame, not his center. If he is sacked and fumbles the ball, he takes the blame, not anyone on the offensive line.

When his throwing motion and mechanics where less than desirable in the spring and maybe played a role in why some think Kyle Parker has a slight edge in the battle to be the next Clemson quarterback, Korn did not make any excuses. He simply said he would go back to work and fix any issues that where there.

He went to work all right. Just two weeks removed from the spring game, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound quarterback got in touch with former NFL quarterback and coach Jerry Rhome to not only work on his mechanics, but to also give him any other kind of instruction on how to be the best quarterback he can be.

"He knows everything there is to know about quarterbacks." Korn said. "He is sort of the encyclopedia of coaching quarterbacks."

As a quarterback himself, Rhome broke 18 NCAA records at Tulsa University and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 1964, when he earned All-American honors and was the winner of the Walter Camp Trophy.

After Tulsa, he played eight years in the NFL before pursuing a career as a coach at the college and NFL level for 28 years. He spent 25 of those years in the NFL and was Doug Williams' quarterback coach when the Washington Redskins won Super Bowl XXII.

Since his retirement, Rhome trains quarterbacks for the NFL Draft, most notably Vince Young and Troy Smith.

"I needed to get my mechanics back to the way it was before I had all of these injuries," said Korn, who had shoulder and collarbone surgery thanks to a vicious hit against Georgia Tech last October. "I spent an entire Saturday with him. I didn't waste a whole lot of time before trying to fix my mechanics after the spring game."

As a matter of fact, Korn was back on the field throwing again three days later and the work he put in before he saw Rhome corrected a lot of the problems he was having in the spring.

"I had fixed it so much on my own; he did not have to waste too much time with it," Korn said. "He was really impressed with how I cleaned it up already."

Korn sent Rhome a tape of his throwing motion from the spring so Rhome could analyze and see what was happening.

"I needed to speed everything up and shorten everything up," Korn said. "My release was slow because it was so long. I dropped the ball and then it would come from (behind the shoulder), instead of just throwing it straight from the ear.

"The main thing (Rhome) told me was just to make sure you keep the ball close to the ear and don't bring it back so much and keep your throwing circle really small and compact. He gave me a lot of confidence.

"To go and work with a guy with that kind of experience and that kind of knowledge of the game and to tell me that it looks really good, that gave me confidence."

Since then Korn has worked with his Dad and former high school coach Bobby Bentley, who was amazed by Korn's progress since the spring game.

"Every weekend I will go out with my Dad or I will go out with my roommates and throw," Korn said. "I will get my Dad to tape it so we can take it back to the house and watch it and see what I need to improve on. I have been working on it pretty much non-stop since the spring game so now I don't have to really think about my mechanics anymore.

"The way I'm throwing the football now, it looks 10 times quicker. It looks the way it did my freshman year or before I got here."

And that will allow Korn to go into camp focused on one goal, being Clemson's starting quarterback.

"I can just focus on the things that I need to focus on now so when I come into camp, I really will be my old self," he said. "I'm not going to make excuses for what I did in the spring. I was 100 percent healthy, but my mechanics were not at their best, but they will be at camp.

"You will see me at my best, you will see Kyle at his best and you will see who the better guy is."

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