I could break down last week?s game and bore the four people that actually read this column. I am not that good to begin with, and the fact that it was a ho-hum win because Clemson did what they were supposed to, except for giving up a couple of late touchdowns, does not make it any easier.
Sure, there were a number of bright spots worth mentioning. Cullen Harper?s school record five touchdown passes, all of which were to different receivers, or the number of young guys that picked up significant reps are examples. And though not a surprise, it was nice to see Mark Buchholz have another stellar performance on kickoffs.
However, a more important topic needs to be addressed and it is one that will not sit well with many. Clemson has some very ignorant fans.
Now before you all get bent out of shape, realize two things. First, the key word in that sentence is ?some.? Secondly, you should at least read all that I have to say before jumping to conclusions.
All schools have ignorant fans, so there is no reason for anyone to think Clemson is immune to them. Why, then, does it deserve mentioning?
Because the level of ignorance seems to be growing and growing like a tumor. At first it was a just a spot worth getting checked out at some point, but now it has become a reason to worry.
The reason for this concern involves the sheer lunacy of some fans in regards to Clemson?s quarterback situation. The second-string quarterback will always be pretty popular, especially when things are not going well, but the infatuation with Clemson?s quarterbacks is downright ridiculous.
Fact: Cullen Harper is the starter, he deserves to be the starter, and so far he has done a very good job as the starter.
Fiction: Willy Korn can sling it like Dan Marino, runs like a cheetah, and he could part the waters of Lake Hartwell with a simple touch of his finger. His sweat cures cancer and a portion of the ozone layer is restored every time he passes gas.
There is no denying Korn was a great talent in high school. He may well be the best high school quarterback to ever hail from the state of South Carolina, but that alone does not make him the best candidate for the job.
It takes more than an impressive resume to be a starter.
Remember Michael Carr, the top ranked quarterback coming out of high school who signed with Clemson? How about Kelvin Grant, the highly sought after receiver from Camden?
Both were players who dominated on the high school level but could not get it together in college. And those are just a couple of names on a long list of ?can?t miss? prospects who did not produce, a list which every school has.
Naturally, expectations for Korn are going to be high because of his accomplishments, his commitment to Clemson before his junior year, and the way he carries himself. He is a natural leader who always seems to say the right thing.
But the expectations need to be tempered by the realization that he is just a true freshman and not Superman.
Anyone who thinks he deserves to be the starter at this point in his career is making a declaration based on, at best, high school broadcasts, the writings of the so-called recruiting gurus, and the spring game.
Outside of the staff, very few people have access to Clemson practices, and only a few of them attend on a fairly regular basis. Yet, many have been clamoring for him to start as if they have seen enough practices to know he is far and away the best quarterback on campus.
The sad thing is many would make that claim even if they had access to practice simply because they are so jaded by all the press, and they do not know how to assess a quarterback anymore than they know how to land the space shuttle.
A perfect example is the gentleman sitting near me for the Florida State game. After the third play he stated that Korn should be in there because he?s the ?best quarterback in the conference.? When asked why by another fan he responded, ?Because he grew up near me.?
Of course, this is the same guy that was calling for Harper last year, for Proctor when Whitehurst was still around, Whitehurst when Willie Simmons was starting, and Simmons when Woody Dantzler was setting records.
I realize that people like him are a minority, but it is a growing minority. And because of the outspokenness of this minority, it is as if they have become the vocal majority.
Being a first-year starting quarterback is hard enough as it is regardless of how many years one has been in the program. Having to deal with a large portion of the fan base cheering your backup like he is the second coming of Joe Montana, they way they did Saturday, only makes it harder.
What many have failed to realize in their support of Korn is they are backhanding Harper, the same Harper many of them wanted to see on the field last year.
It is time everyone looks at the bigger picture and support Cullen Harper. The coaches are not playing him because of loyalty or because they are scared to throw Korn into the fire. He is ahead of Korn right now because he is a better quarterback for this team.
Harper has done nothing to lead anyone to believe he does not deserve to be the starter. Through two games he has seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He has done a very good job guiding the team and protecting the football.
He has not made every read or hit the bull?s-eye with every pass. But guess what, Korn has not either.
Harper looks to be a tremendous upgrade over Will Proctor. Not only does he seem to be better from a production standpoint, he is tremendous upgrade as a leader and a guy for whom the team has the utmost respect.
If he is as good as everyone seems to think, Korn?s time will come soon enough. Be it next week or next year, he will see the field. Either way, it is a positive.
If Harper is able to hold him off for an entire season and possibly two, then Clemson apparently found a diamond in the rough when they signed him. If Korn takes over this year, it is because he was all he was made out to be coming out of high school?and possibly more.
With an offensive line that is still very much a work in progress, fans need to realize that there are going to be some bumps along the way and this year?s quarterback needs the benefit of the doubt.
Regardless of whom the starter is, the fervent adulation for Korn needs to be dialed back because he does not need the pressure and Harper could use the support.