Harper Maintains Early Edge In Race For Backup QB

by - Correspondent -

CLEMSON - While much of the preseason attention surrounding Clemson has centered on Will Proctor's ascension to starting quarterback in his fifth year in the program, who wins the backup spot may be a more important race to watch.

Cullen Harper and Tribble Reese, both redshirt sophomores, are vying for the No. 2 quarterback slot behind Proctor. After spring practice Harper had a slight edge on the depth chart but still plenty of work to do in order to nail down the position.

Two days into fall camp, however, Bowden sees no reason to jump the gun on naming an official No. 2 quarterback.

"Speaking for (offensive coordinator) Rob (Spence), I'd say probably 10 days or so away from the opener would be the right time to have a firm No. 2," head coach Tommy Bowden said following Sunday's workout.

"Cullen's a little bit ahead in body type (as well as on the field), but Tribble has plenty of time to push for the backup role."

Some have suggested that Proctor's mobility may put him in greater danger of getting hurt.

The theory suggests that because Proctor is more a threat to run than his predecessor, Charlie Whitehurst, opposing defenses might have better shots at him once the regular season begins.

Bowden, though, isn't so sure.

"Sometimes that mobility can keep you from getting hit," he said. "If you're able to run and move, maybe you get hit on the edges (tapping his shoulder) rather than flush (tapping his chest)."


- Bowden noted one major collision during skeleton drills. Duane Coleman laid a huge hit on wide receiver Aaron Kelly.

"It's amazing how much enthusiasm something like that generates," Bowden said.

Speaking of Kelly, Bowden said the redshirt sophomore is showing no ill effects from the knee injury he suffered back during spring practice.

- Another handful of players, including senior defensive end Gaines Adams, were carted off the field toward the end of practice suffering from cramps.

- Wideout Rendrick Taylor did not practice Sunday because of a sprained ankle. He is expected back on Monday.

- The Tigers worked on kickoff returns for a portion of Saturday's practice. Freshman Jacoby Ford was among the return men getting work. Ford also figures to be a factor on punt returns.

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