Walk-on is making an impression
When it comes to who is placekicker might be for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney admitted he has no idea.
“You got as much clarity on the kicking situation as I have right now. I can promise you,” Swinney told a reporter.
Clemson currently ranks last in the ACC in field goal kicking with four successful kicks in 10 attempts. It did not help that All-ACC kicker Greg Huegel tore his ACL prior to the Boston College game last month. His replacement, Alex Spence, is just 2-of-6, including two misses in the Tigers’ three-point loss to Syracuse on Oct. 13.
“At some point you have to take it to the game field,” Swinney said. “I like everybody, so it is not personal, but you have to perform.”
Swinney admitted it has been frustrating to watch the kicking situation since Huegel’s injury.
“It’s frustrating because I see Alex doing it in practice,” he said. “He has been awesome since the Syracuse game. He comes to practice.”
Swinney said Spence, along with Christian Groomes and walk-on Drew Costa, have been competing hard and have all looked good in practice.
“Everybody is getting the same kick. Everything is the same,” the Clemson coach said. “Everybody has to have the same everything. I don’t want anything different for anybody. We are just trying to let them compete their tails off. I’m just asking them to make layups. I’m not interested in the three-pointer. Let’s just make the layups … If we can just make some layups, we can maybe grow from there.”
Right now, Spence is still out in front in the competition, but a lot can change between now and game time. Swinney said the competition will go all the way through warmups.
“It will be the most watched warmups in the history of watching warmups,” Swinney said. “Get there early. I’m going to chart it all the way to kickoff. I have no idea who is going to run out there first.”
Costa making an impression. Last week, Swinney called senior Drew Costa up and asked if he wanted to come out and compete for the starting job. Costa accepted and has been kicking pretty well.
Swinney said he brought Costa in on a “day-to-day” contract.
“He’s doing great. Every day he’s extending his contract,” Swinney said. “He’s getting to eat meals now. Walk-ons get to eat, so he’s loving life. He’s getting some gear this weekend. He’s really done a good job. He’s got a live leg.”
Edmond back at practice. Cornerback Marcus Edmond, who has missed the last five games due to a foot sprain, returned to practice this week wearing a green jersey, which means he can do most things but is still limited in some other things.
Edmond injured his foot on the third play of the Auburn game and has not returned.
“He’s just got to kind of work through a little bit of soreness, but he’s much better and a lot closer to getting back full time,” Swinney said.
Garrett Williams to redshirt. Swinney said after talking with junior tight end Garrett Williams, who tore his ACL back in the spring, they have decided he will redshirt instead of playing this year.
Swinney said Williams wants to get his master’s degree and wants to play at the next level, and that redshirting this season gives him the best chance to accomplish those goals.
“It’s what he wants to do and I support it, so we’re going to try to redshirt him and see if we can get this year back,” Swinney said. “I definitely think he can come back and help us, but it’s also a win to know that we’re going to have him another year, two years from now.”