Supper with Dabo: Evening meal helps restore Potter's confidence


by - Senior Writer -
B.T. Potter had his confidence restored after an evening meal with his head coach.
B.T. Potter had his confidence restored after an evening meal with his head coach.

CLEMSON – B.T. Potter has a tattoo on the lower part of his left leg that says, “Don’t let your dreams die.”

That was advice worth remembering over the last few weeks.

Potter, Clemson’s talented sophomore kicker, made national news when he missed a 24-yard field goal against Florida State. As Potter returned to the Clemson sideline after missing the kick, he was met by head coach Dabo Swinney, who let Potter know his feelings loudly and explicitly.

Swinney later said that Potter had lost the job of kicking on short field goals and extra points, and Potter was unsure what to make of the situation. However, Swinney sat down with his kicker at supper later that week and expressed his confidence.

“At first I was a little upset. But me and Coach Swinney sat down for dinner one night and he told me that he had all the confidence in the world in me and that really helped me,” Potter said. “That's something that people don't see, but I know he believes in me and that was one of the best parts of last week.”

Potter was used on kickoffs at Louisville and then made a career-long 51-yard field goal. When Steven Sawicki later missed a 44-yarder, Potter was used on all extra points and Swinney later gave Potter the game ball.

“It's really nice. The whole story like at the beginning of the game, I wasn't expecting to go out there for that first field goal, but when Coach Swinney called me I knew I was ready,” Potter said. “I practiced hard all week last week. It was just nice to get to go out there and prove myself. I think he was pretty mad, but I was madder at myself. It's just like, it's a routine kick and it's something that I kind of took for granted, expecting myself to make it. I'm going out there to make it and not miss it and my mindset was to go out there and not miss, but it's good to go out there and make the kick.”

Potter said he understands why Swinney was mad and he’s made it into a learning experience.

“I was already hard on myself. I kind of expected it, because no one should miss that. It's good,” Potter said. “This past week has been really good. We challenged each other and we're pretty good friends. Yeah, it did, but this is when champions are made, so I'm either going to gonna work or sit back and let him have it.

“It's definitely a mind game for me - go out there and make the kick - instead of go out there and not miss. Growing up mentally is big for me.”

Potter was asked his range, and he said that range doesn’t matter if he can’t hit the short ones.

“A little bit further than 51. I kicked a 51 against Georgia Tech and I was hoping it would be a 52, but I would say 54 or 55. If the wind gets good out there, I could hit 60, but I don't really focus on that,” he said. “Obviously, if I can't make a 24 yarder than I'm no good. It felt great. I knew I always believed in myself and I knew I would get another chance, I just didn't know when that would be. I was telling myself, 'It's gonna happen, so you have to be ready.' Just hitting that was a big confidence boost and especially the week after I wasn't a starter anymore.”

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