Korn Gets Up Close Look With Second Team

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON ---- As Clemson freshman Willy Korn started towards the locker room Thursday night, fellow freshman Xavier Dye patted him on the shoulder pads and said, ?Willy, good job out there tonight.?

Dye?s congratulatory words summed up the kind of night it was for Clemson?s highly touted quarterback. Clemson?s coaching staff used Thursday?s situational scrimmage to close the first week of practice as an opportunity to see how Korn could handle the offense before heading into next week?s spring break.

?I didn?t want to leave for spring break not knowing if Korn could operate and manage a team in a scrimmage situation so today we kind of gave Cullen (Harper) and Korn the reps,? Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said.
Korn said he scrimmaged 20 to 25 plays and gave his overall grade a C-plus.

?I?m nowhere near where I need to be,? he said. ?I fumbled a snap, made a wrong check on a running play. It?s the little things you do wrong that lose ball games.

?I have to work out the kinks and just do better.?

Be he did do some good things, like when he checked to a tight zone to the right, calling a play for walk-on running back Ronald Watson, who ran for about a 20-yard touchdown.

?Korn showed he belongs at this level at this point and time in his career and that he can go out there and manage the show,? Bowden said. ?It?s not that (Michael) Wade and (Tribble) Reese can?t we just felt like we couldn?t wait until after spring break to get him additional work.?

Bowden clarified Korn?s performance Thursday, and the fact he worked exclusively with the number-two team, doesn?t solidify or mean he is the second-team quarterback. Thursday was just an experiment.

?There are some things we need answered,? Bowden said. ?It?s not that the other guys did anything wrong, but we have seen the other guys. We know they can play, but we did not know if he could. Now we do.?

Korn has had a productive first week as a Clemson Tiger, saying he already feels like he has improved as a quarterback since stepping on campus in January.

?My arm has already got stronger and I have a good grasp on base plays so I have definitely improved since the first practice,? he said.

He said the biggest adjustment over the four practices this week was getting used to the speed of the game, especially during Thursday?s scrimmage. He also learned its okay to spend an extra couple of hours learning the playbook and signs.

Thanks to all of that, it?s all starting to come around for the freshman

?I was working the threes, and I just got thrown in there,? he said. ?We ended up scoring a touchdown from the 30 when we were scrimmaging. So that?s not too bad.?


- Running backs C.J. Spiller and James Davis have been praised all week for their extraordinary leadership during the first week of practice. On Thursday, Bowden singled out Spiller for more than just his leadership.

During the situational scrimmage, Spiller made two chin-dropping runs in the open field.

?He had a couple of phenomenal runs today,? Bowden said. ?They were really big-time, unusual, super phenomenal plays.?

Bowden said Clemson is currently working in more ways to get both Davis and Spiller on the field at the same time. He evened mentioned lining one of them out in a slot formation.

- Bowden also praised the performance of his offensive line, including guards Chris McDuffie, left tackle Barry Richardson and center Barry Humphries. Bowden was particularly pleased with Humphries? play considering his position is a major concern for the coaching staff this spring.

Corners Byron Maxwell and DeAndre McDaniel were also singled out for their performances this week as were Phillip Merling, Kwam Williams, and Jamie Cumbie on the defensive front. Cumbie was credited with a couple of deflections at the line of scrimmage during Thursday?s drills.

- Clemson will take all of next week off for spring break and will return to practice on Monday, March 26. The annual Spring Game is April 14 at 1 p.m. in Death Valley.

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