Frustrated Korn wants to play

Clemson's backup QB says he does not want to transfer but hopes to have his role expand

pstrelow@ thestate.comSeptember 29, 2009 

  • TIGERS VS. TERRAPINS

    WHO: Clemson (2-2) at Maryland (1-3)

    WHEN: Noon Saturday

    WHERE: Byrd Stadium, College Park, Md.

    LINE: Clemson by 13.5

    TV: ESPNU (channel 16O)

    RADIO: ESPN Radio 93.1 FM

CLEMSON - Backup quarterback Willy Korn watched the majority of Clemson's offensive plays last Saturday while standing 20 yards from where the team's coaches and other quarterbacks were stationed.

Korn said he wanted to see plays from quarterback Kyle Parker's vantage point, using them as "mental reps."

For the second game this season, those were the only repetitions Korn garnered. Which is why Korn found himself Monday dismissing speculation of an impending transfer while also expressing disappointment that he had not been playing as coach Dabo Swinney pledged.

"It's not easy watching football games, it's really not," Korn said.

"I'll be honest with you, it's a little frustrating not playing Saturday and not getting to play against Georgia Tech. But that's something that's out of my control. When I go in, how many plays I get to play, that's all coach Swinney's decision.

"When a guy tells you you're going to be playing every single game, that's what you expect. At the same time, I understand we were down 24-zip at Georgia Tech and I think we only had three or four offensive possessions first half against TCU, so I understand these two games. The circumstances didn't merit me getting any playing time. But I hope my role can expand in these coming weeks."

Upon request Monday, Korn rehashed Swinney guarantee "to my face" that he would play every game. But he did not appear in either of Clemson's games against ranked opponents.

Korn admitted that the Tigers' production during his brief stints probably was the reason. Five of the six drives he has directed have lasted no more than four plays and gone for two yards or fewer. But Korn believes the outcomes of his drives were largely not his doing.

On the second play of his second-quarter drive against Middle Tennessee, Korn lost control of the ball as he cocked his arm, and a Blue Raiders defensive lineman caught it mid-air and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown. Then, on the second play of his opening second-half drive, Korn's floating pass to the left sideline was bobbled by running back Jamie Harper before being intercepted.

"I'm not going to sit here and make any excuses, (but) the few opportunities I have had, just had some really bad luck," Korn said. "Somehow, some kind of freak play happens."

Korn has dropped back for four passes - two were intercepted, another was completed for a 1-yard loss on a screen and the fourth culminated in a sack off play-action.

"So I really haven't had a great number of opportunities to show what I can do on Saturdays," he said. "Hopefully I get some more opportunities and can get in a rhythm out there. It's kind of difficult when we don't get anything going and go three-and-out, then you go sit for an hour and then go back out there again."

Rumors had circulated in recent weeks that Korn had planned to transfer to Appalachian State after this season, but Korn refuted that Monday but said he will evaluate his future at Clemson after the season.

One major factor in the timing of such a decision could be that the redshirt sophomore is on pace to graduate in May with a degree in communications studies.

"Everyone at the end of the season looks at their situation, how their season went and how their career's been going," Korn said. "But it's nothing I can forecast this early in the season. We've only played four ballgames. A lot can still happen, a lot can still change. A lot of good things can still happen to me here."

Korn said this season's trials have paled in comparison to last season's misery.

"Last year was 10 times more difficult than this year just because I was injured and never thought I'd actually get back to the point where I'd throw a football correctly again," he said. "... This year is different because I'm not hurt anymore. I'm healthy and throwing the ball really well.

"Hopefully I can get some more snaps and see my role expand a little more, because I really want to contribute to this team and help us win a championship. Because I really think I can. I can help some way."

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