Harper Hoping For Firm Grip On Backup Role


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A year ago Harper played in just one game, completing one pass for 15 yards.
A year ago Harper played in just one game, completing one pass for 15 yards.

CLEMSON - Much of the focus on Clemson's offense entering spring practice centered on Will Proctor's ascent to starting quarterback.


It's a natural focal point, for sure, especially since Proctor - a fifth-year senior - is getting his first shot at the job after sitting behind Charlie Whitehurst for three-plus years.


But what about backup quarterback? With Whitehurst, Proctor became a proven commodity at No. 2. But now that Proctor is the starter, who gets the ball in case he goes down with an injury?


As of this moment, it's redshirt sophomore Cullen Harper.


“He is doing a good job and is adjusting to the offense as the No.2 quarterback,” offensive coordinator Rob Spence said after practice Wednesday. “To this point he is doing a very good job and is functioning very well.


“He is still a very young player and he has a long way to go, but he is doing well.”


A year ago Harper played in just one game, completing one pass for 15 yards. Hardly enough to judge his readiness for major playing time should Proctor go down.

But that's what spring practice is for. Is Harper ready for the pressure of being, as they say, one snap away?

Stay tuned.

In other news Wednesday:


- The team had its first workout in full pads, and head coach Tommy Bowden seemed pleased with what he saw.


“We had a lot of enthusiasm, but I don’t think we got anybody hurt,” he said. “We tried to do a lot of low risk drills because we have a scrimmage (Saturday) and I think we can get better if we can just stay healthy.”


The full speed workout seemed to agree with freshman defensive tackle Etta Etta-Tawo. The Powder Springs, Ga. native made a good impression during Wednesday's practice.

“He kind off shot off and jumped out in our little one-on-one drills,” Bowden said. “He had a good first day. He jumped off the radar.”


- While players are being evaluated in every aspect of practice, Saturday's scrimmage will be a chance for some to stand out above others.

“We do so much over there and we have so many guys on that board and have 100 and something guys going like rapid fire,” he said. “Saturday will be the first time where we can actually see if (a guy like Jacoby Ford) can make somebody miss.”

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