Clemson coach Dabo Swinney received some criticism after he lit into Tigers kicker B.T. Potter on Saturday when the sophomore missed a short field goal against Florida State.
Swinney then benched Potter, turning to walk-on Steven Sawicki to handle field goal duties the rest of the game against the Seminoles and moving forward.
Swinney responded to that criticism Wednesday night when meeting with the media to preview this weekend’s game against Louisville.
“Yeah, I don’t know. I guess I’m the only coach that ever yells at a player,” he said jokingly.
Swinney pointed out that in addition to going after Potter for more than 30 seconds, which was caught on national television, he also voiced his displeasure with senior safety K’Von Wallace after he received a penalty in the third quarter of Clemson’s 45-14 victory.
“The thing is, I yelled at K’Von Wallace a lot worse than B.T. I kicked him out of the game,” Swinney said. “He didn’t play another snap on defense from the third quarter on because he had a personal foul. And it was a bad personal foul. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we do. The cameras only show what they want to show.”
Sawicki has responded well to being named Clemson’s starting kicker, according to Swinney. The senior had a solid week of practice after making his first career field goal for the Tigers against FSU.
“He’s 10-for-10 on the week counting today’s kicks. So I’m excited for him,” Swinney said. “He went into that game last week and had no expectation that he would be thrown into the game to have to go make a kick. And he was ready. He took advantage of the opportunity. He’s earned an opportunity to go see if he can be consistent.”
Potter has also had a solid week of practice, although not as good as Sawicki’s, Swinney said. But if the Tigers need a long field goal against Louisville, Swinney won’t hesitate to turn to Potter.
“Sometimes everybody needs a little foot in their rear. And sometimes you just need to sit and watch for a minute. But B.T.’s made of the right stuff and he’s had a good week,” Swinney said. “He’s probably 8-for-10. But he’s had a good week. He’s good. And he’ll still be the long guy and do our kickoffs and all that.”
Handling the noise
Clemson struggled to handle the noise in its last road game at North Carolina, jumping offsides five times, which hurt its offensive output.
Swinney does not expect the noise to be a problem this weekend against Louisville, and the Tigers have been practicing with loud music to simulate what they will face against the Cardinals.
“It’s really not that big a deal. These guys are incredibly experienced up front, played a million snaps in a million environments. It’s just focus,” Swinney said. “You know they’re going to move and stem and all of that stuff, so just be locked in and do what we’ve got to do, and let’s not go backwards. Let’s go forward… Hopefully we can do a little better this time out.”
Who: No. 2 Clemson (6-0, 4-0) at Louisville (3-2, 1-1)
When: Noon Saturday
Where: Cardinal Stadium; Louisville, Kentucky
Line: Clemson by 24