Clemson University

Tigers must decide whether to sit Korn

CLEMSON -- The first valid quarterback controversy at Clemson begins to take shape this weekend.

Per NCAA rules, heralded freshman Willy Korn has already nullified the chance to redshirt by making two mop-up appearances.

However, he could theoretically qualify for a medical hardship to restore the year of eligibility.

Korn suffered what he vaguely termed a "sore" shoulder during the Sept. 15 Furman game and has yet to play in three games since, fueling speculation the Tigers might attempt to withhold him the rest of the season.

According to the bylaw regarding the waiver, the injury must occur "prior to the completion of the first half of the playing season" and result "in incapacity to compete for the remainder of that playing season."

So essentially, Korn cannot play beyond the halfway point of the season -- in Clemson's case, any contest hereafter, starting with Saturday's game against Central Michigan -- and still make a case of meeting the terms of "incapacity to compete."

Asked several different ways Wednesday whether the waiver will be sought, coach Tommy Bowden stuck with a blanket statement.

"We've talked this week, and both of us would end up saying we're going to do what's best for Clemson," Bowden said. "I think what I said is pretty conclusive."

Which, of course, should lead Clemson fans to conclude one thing -- a concrete decision has yet to be made because there is no foreseeing how the rest of the season will play out.

Inserting Korn could be deemed in the team's or coaching staff's best interest if starter Cullen Harper is injured or performs poorly down the stretch.

The other backup quarterback, redshirt junior Tribble Reese, has garnered second-string practice in recent weeks in case Clemson opts to withhold Korn.

While team doctors have medical documentation of an injury, its lingering effect is unclear.

Korn said the shoulder continues to bother him, particularly on deep throws, but took the party line in answering whether he would prefer to pursue the medical waiver.

"I came here because I have faith in the coaches," Korn said. "I trust them and they are going to make the best decision for me and the team."

• CLAY'S DAY -- Junior middle linebacker Antonio Clay hopped off the scale earlier this week and arguably shone his brightest smile since returning to school.

Clay tipped in at 220 pounds, his playing weight last year before a bout with depression derailed his season and convinced coaches he should spend the spring semester at home rehabilitating.

He weighed in excess of 240 pounds during the summer and has spent the first half of the season trying to regain his conditioning, which had been set back recently by a sprained ankle.

Although his replacement in the starting lineup, Cortney Vincent, returned to practice Wednesday from a sprained ankle, Clay said he worked exclusively with the first-string.

"I'm just trying to show the coaches I can move like I used to move," Clay said. "Weight's not a problem anymore. I'm ready to play."

• EXTRA POINTS -- Junior receiver Rendrick Taylor (torn hamstring) has yet to participate in a full-scale practice this week and figures likely to miss his third consecutive game. ... Athletics director Terry Don Phillips has been named one of the country's 100 most influential sports educators by the Institute for International Sport. ... Central Michigan is seeking its first win against a team from a BCS conference since 1992.