Clemson coach Dabo Swinney held his first regular season news conference this morning at the West End Zone at Death Valley. Swinney and the Tigers will open the regular season Saturday at 6:00 against Middle Tennessee.
AUDIO: Swinney pre Middle Tennessee (7:02)
There wasn’t anything earth shattering in terms of news. From an injury standpoint the Tigers are in good shape. Jacoby Ford is back at full strength and is expected to start Saturday. Swinney also made it official that Richard Jackson will start at place kicker and Spencer Benton will handle the kickoffs.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Parker will get the start at quarterback against the Blue Raiders. He is the first freshman QB to start a season opener at Clemson since 1945 (Bobby Gage). Swinney does plan to play backup Willy Korn in the game too. However, he does not have a specific timeframe for when and how much Korn will play.
The Coaching Circle of Life:
The Blue Radiers are coached by Rick Stockstill. Stockstill was an assistant at Clemson from 1989-2002. When he left to take over as the offensive coordinator at East Carolina Tommy Bowden brought in Swinney to replace him.
Former Clemson quarterback Willie Simmons is also on the Middle Tennessee staff. So is former Tiger wide receiver Justin Watts. David Bibee and Les Herrin also are on the Blue Raiders staff and they both have spent time coaching at Clemson in the past.
Inside the new team meeting room (which is spectacular) is a sign that list the Tigers five goals for the season. There are:
1) Win the opener
2) Win the Atlantic Division
3) Win the State Championship
4) Win the ACC Championship
5) Win the Bowl game