When Clemson beat The Citadel on Sept. 19 at Death Valley, Derion Kendrick did not start the game.
After being on the inactive list for the Tigers’ season-opener at Wake Forest, Kenrick watched the first play of The Citadel game on the sideline. He then substituted for Andrew Booth on the second play.
Then, later in the game, Kendrick was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that penalized the Tigers 15 yards.
“It can’t happen,” Swinney said after the game.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was just another mistake Kendrick has made in recent months as he tries to get back in the good graces of his head coach.
“DK is a great kid, but we want him to be accountable in every area, academics, tutors, study hall, you name it. All of it. It all matters to us,” Swinney said. “So, he got himself in a little bit of a hole this summer, but he has dug himself out. He is coming on.”
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said on Monday Kendrick is in good shape with the coaching staff and his playing time will not be affected this week as the top-ranked Tigers get set to take on Virginia Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Clemson.
“He was not in my doghouse. DK is fine. Everything is good,” Venables said. “I know Coach Swinney talked a little bit about the first game with some discipline issues, but he has not been in my doghouse. He has not been in our doghouse. He has done a good job.
“He comes to work every day and Coach is trying to help him grow up, make good decisions, those kinds of things. But his playing time has not been affected here in the last week as a result of anything.”
According to Swinney, they were not disciplining Kendrick during the first couple of weeks of the season as much as they were loving him.
“I would not call it discipline, I would call it a little bit of love,” the Clemson coach said. “Just loving him up. I think discipline is the greatest form of love.”
The Tigers hope Kendrick returns that love on Saturday when they kickoff at 8 p.m. against the Cavaliers.
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