Highly competitive games often come down to special teams, whether that's a missed field goal, blocked punt, or just an overall advantage in average starting field position.
While that department can be a major area of concern, that doesn't appear to be the case this season for Clemson as the Tigers return B.T. Potter. The Rock Hill, S.C., native earned first-team reps as a freshman and has hardly looked back outside of temporarily being replaced by Steven Sawicki midway through the 2019 campaign.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney voiced his confidence in his veteran placekicker who enters this season with the longest field goal in College Football Playoff National Championship history with his 52-yard conversion against LSU in January.
"B.T. is in another place confidence-wise," Swinney said. "It is always great to see guys mature and grow into their role, to handle the adversity, to handle the success and really just both of those things to develop, and he's done that."
After being sidelined following a 24-yard miss in the 45-14 win over Flordia State at home as well as a key 40-yard miss in the pulsating 21-20 win in Chapel Hill in 2019, Potter answered the challenge and reclaimed his starting role converting on several key attempts down the stretch.
"I thought his momentum to finish the season last year really carried over into spring and prior to spring being canceled he had only missed one field goal. He's been really good, and I think he's 80-something percent," Swinney said on Wednesday.
Gameday Thread: Clemson at Syracuse
Follow along with the action, as the Clemson Tigers travel to New York to take on the Syracuse Orange.
How to Watch, Listen and Storylines: Clemson at Syracuse
After a much-needed week of rest and recovery, Clemson will return to action this week when it travels to face the Syracuse Orange on Friday, Oct. 15. Kickoff at the Carrier Dome is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET
Syracuse Offensive Line Must Improve
Syracuse was one of the worst team's in the country last season when it comes to protecting the quarterback and head coach Dino Babers is adamant about the Orange being better up front in 2021.
Potter has certainly built off of last year's misses and used that humbling experience to come back stronger than ever in his third season in Death Valley.
"He's had a bunch of competitive kicks, probably 60 something competitive kicks through camp. He had a couple of game-winners today and been very consistent so I'm really, really happy for him," Swinney said.
Potter's confidence is not the only area the placekicker has improved, either. He's also put in the dedication in the weight room and it shows.
"His body is in a great spot and I like where he is. He's hitting the ball well and I think he's poised to have a great year," Swinney said.
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