Getting his kicks
Richard Jackson
Posted Aug 11, 2009

CLEMSON - Make no mistake about it, Richard Jackson jumped out ahead of Spencer Benton in the race for place kicking duties after Tuesday’s scrimmage in Death Valley.

Jackson made four field goals (50, 42, 22 and 35), missed one from 31 and also missed an extra point.

Meanhile Benton missed all four of his field goal attempts.

Coach Dabo Swinney said one of Benton’s misses, which he estimated was from about 48 yards, could have been good from 58, had it been on line.

Swinney also said the battle has gone back and forth throughout camp. And even though Jackson jumped out into the lead after Tuesday, the battle for place kicking duties remains open.

“They can both kick the ball. But they need to go through the uprights,” Swinney said. “They can absolutely crush the ball. They both have great legs.”

Jackson was relatively pleased with his performance on Tuesday.

“I guess on paper (I had a good day) but I was a little inconsistent,” Jackson said. “I’m excited. I feel like I’m really close.

“But missing that extra-point is unacceptable no matter what the circumstance is.”

After the scrimmage, Jackson said missing the extra-point was will be the best thing that could happen to him during camp.

“I realized why I missed it. It wasn’t a football thing. I was just tentative. It was short, an extra-point and I thought I would just poke it through,” he said. “You can’t do that, you’ve got to be committed to everyone. You’ve got to be loose out there.”

With that approach, Jackson feels he’s in position to go out and “swing freely.” Excited with how he’s been kicking during warm ups and practice, Jackson hopes it starts to carry over into team kicking.

After returning to Clemson from spring break, Jackson said he’s been a lot more loose and confident. And, he’s pleased with how well he’s striking the ball. With no final say in how kicks or doesn’t, he’s not worried about who gets the nod.

“As far as the kicking battle is concerned, you’d have to ask the coaches. But I’m excited with the way that I’m kicking right now,” Jackson said. “That’s what I have to be concerned with.”

He said the field goal miss during the scrimmage was left. Nothing mental or technical, “just aimed up a little left.”

Swinney said whoever wins kicking duties against Middle Tennessee must show more consistency. Either way, Benton or Jackson, he likes the leg strength in both.

“That’s the main thing. Both of them have outstanding legs,” he said.

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