LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney does not give out a lot of game balls, but he gave one to B.T. Potter following Saturday’s 45-10 victory at Louisville.
It had not been a good week for the Tigers’ kicker. He was demoted by Swinney at halftime in last week’s game against Florida State after he missed a 24-yard field goal. Swinney laid into the sophomore after the miss and replaced him with Steven Sawicki, who started Saturday’s game.
But instead of pouting and feeling sorry for himself, Potter got mad. He directed his anger on the football when he nailed a 51-yard field goal on the Tigers’ opening possession of the game. It tied his career long, which he set against Georgia Tech earlier this year.
“How about ole Potter,” Swinney said. “He had a tough week. Everybody needs a little sugar every now and then. We are proud of him. It is just his mindset. Again, that is why sometimes we need our butts kicked every now and then and just kind of refocus a little bit.
“It was great to see him go out there. He went out there mad. He went out there to nail it and he did. It was just awesome and there was no doubt. It is just his mindset, so I am really proud of him. It is just really cool to see him respond the way he did.”
Though Potter made the 51-yard field goal, Sawicki kicked the Tigers’ first two extra points on the afternoon, but when he missed badly on a 45-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter, Swinney switched back to Potter.
The sophomore did not get another field goal in the game, but he made all four of Clemson’s extra point attempts in the second half.
“Hopefully, that will get him back on track,” Swinney said.
Swinney would not guarantee Potter will be the starter next week, but he did say, “He is definitely going to be the long guy, though. But I am proud of him. I am proud of Potter. That is what it is all about, to see a guy respond.”
The Clemson coach also complemented what Potter means to the team on kickoffs. Seven of his 8 kickoffs on Saturday were touchbacks. He now has 34 touchbacks on 40 kickoffs this season.
“Let me say something about Potter, too. If you really chart how many people have scored on us backed up after he has kicked it out of the end zone, maybe we have given up one touchdown. It is not many. That field position is critical,” Swinney said. “Potter has been a weapon kicking off. You don’t realize how big that is.”
As for Sawicki, “It is a short-term contract. That is what it is man. It was a bad kick. He had a bad extra point. The first extra point was not (kicked) good, and then just a bad swing at (the field goal). He has been really solid. We put Potter back in and we are going to keep on rolling.”
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