CLEMSON -- On Clemson's homecoming weekend, Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett will also experience a homecoming returning to Death Valley.
Bennett was a graduate assistant at Clemson under Danny Ford from 1984-86.
Under Ford, Bennett recalled Wednesday, the graduate assistants had to sit on the floor during team meetings. They washed cars and trucks, and picked up dry cleaning.
"I remember one time washing Coach Ford's truck and he had tobacco spit all down in the floor board," Bennett said. "He was just a good-old country man who I was blessed to be around for a couple years."
Ford remembers Bennett as a hard-working offensive graduate assistant.
"He did a really fine job with his responsibilities," Ford said. "He recruited well on the telephone … he worked well with backs and receivers."
Bennett received a graduate degree at Clemson after playing football at Presbyterian.
The Cheraw native had a basketball scholarship out of high school to South Carolina.
"I owe a lot to Clemson," Bennett said. "If I hadn't gotten a master's degree, I wouldn't have had a chance to coach at Catawba College in 1995.
"I am very loyal to Clemson."
Bennett began his head-coaching career at Catawba, leaving to start the Coastal Carolina football program in 2001.
Coastal Carolina began competing in 2003 and won three consecutive Big South titles from 2004 to 2006. The FCS team produced four NFL players from those teams, including Miami backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen, San Diego fullback Mike Tolbert, Cincinnati receiver Jerome Simpson -- a second-round draft pick in 2008 -- and Quinton Teal, a backup safety with the Carolina Panthers.
Unfortunately for the Chanticleers, they will be without any of those players Saturday and likely their starting quarterback, Zach MacDowall, who sprained an ankle last week.
Coastal is 14-16 since 2006, and is 3-4 this season.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said he is not entering Saturday with a design on getting backups extended playing time.
Swinney said he's simply concerned with winning the game and referenced Florida State's struggles with FCS Jacksonville State earlier this season.
"Those are things you just have to react to," Swinney said. "You don't ever go into a game saying you are going to blow somebody out.
"Hopefully we can show good depth."
The Tigers are expected to decisively beat the Chanticleers, which would allow the backups, including quarterback Willy Korn, an opportunity for playing time.
Korn has received just 44 snaps this season.
"We try to get him reps every game," Swinney said. "Hopefully he gets a lot of playing time; hopefully we get (third-string quarterback) Michael Wade in there, too. I'd like to get him an opportunity."
The quotable David Bennett
The gregarious Bennett is nothing if not quotable.
Talking about Saturday's game during his Wednesday press conference, Bennett said it's not "comparing apples and oranges, it's comparing oranges and grapes, and we're the grapes."
Swinney said tight end Michael Palmer "most likely" will not play. Palmer was named the John Mackey tight end of the week for his effort at Miami, where he suffered a concussion. Backup safety Kantrell Brown will also be out for the game. Linebacker Scotty Cooper (concussion) is expected back.
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