Dabo Swinney believes B.T. Potter is “a great kicker,” but after Potter missed a 24-yard field goal late in the second quarter of Saturday’s victory against Florida State, the Clemson head coach decided he had seen enough and made a change.
Swinney laid into Potter on the sideline following the missed chip shot field goal, with ESPN cameras showing Swinney voicing his displeasure with Potter for more than 30 seconds.
It was Potter’s second consecutive miss, as he was also off the mark on his only field goal attempt in Clemson’s previous game against North Carolina, which was from 40 yards out. When the Tigers scored a touchdown early in the third quarter against FSU, Potter stayed on the bench, while backup Steven Sawicki attempted the extra point.
“Was disappointed with B.T. That’s two really easy field goals in a row he’s missed. So just felt like we needed to give somebody else a chance,” Swinney said. “He’s easily the most talented guy. He’s a great kicker. But sometimes you’ve just got to stand on the sideline.”
Sawicki also got an opportunity to kick a field goal against the Seminoles and connected from 26 yards out late in the fourth quarter to give the Tigers a 45-7 lead. The field goal was the first of Sawicki’s career.
“Really good for him to step up and seize the moment,” Swinney said. “Sawicki’s a kid that’s walked on here, been around. He doesn’t have the leg strength of B.T. But he’s been very accurate.”
It sounds as if the move is more than just a one-half experiment.
Swinney was asked if the competition will continue moving forward after Potter’s recent struggles and indicated there is a new starter.
“Yeah, he’s second team. I mean that’s just the way it is. I mean everybody’s got a job to do,” Swinney said of Potter. “He’s just missed two easy ones in a row. It’s not like we’re out there kicking 50-yarders. He’s missed two easy layups in a row. And you’ve gotta make your layups. If you don’t make your layups you’ve gotta give someone else an opportunity.”
Potter is 5-for-9 on the season on field goal attempts, including three misses from 40 yards and in.
“B.T.’s going to have to win it back,” Swinney said. “He is a great kicker. And will be a great kicker. But he’s a sophomore and he’s still kind of growing into the role. But at the end of the day it’s a game of performance.”