Whitehurst Might Sit Out Duke Game


by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON --- Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst injured his throwing shoulder the week of the Boston College game in mid-September, and now six weeks later he could miss his first start since 2002.

The fifth-year senior, who is inline to start his school-record 38th consecutive game this Saturday against Duke, said Tuesday he started getting soreness in his right shoulder the days leading up to the contest with the Eagles, but he did not bother checking on it because he thought it might go away.

When it did not, he told head coach Tommy Bowden.


“I have been a quarterback and a pitcher and you know sometimes the arm just gets sore,” Whitehurst said. “I thought it was just the same ole thing, but it kind of lingered. I realized then it might be a little more serious than just soreness like the past.”

Whitehurst has since had an MRI, which found nothing.

“We’re not real sure what the problem is,” he said. “We do know it isn’t a rotator cuff. We’re not sure if it is just inflammation or a cartilage issue. “We really don’t know right now.”

Whitehurst thinks he injured the shoulder by maybe coming to a quick stop of his throwing motion or something similar. Since the Boston College game, which he played in pain, he has taken a day off from throwing here and there.

“We just want to see him get better and heal that arm up,” said offensive coordinator Rob Spence. “That is really, really important to us. Our first priority is to make sure Charlie’s health is taken care of and that arm is taken care of and we don’t send him out there without the repetitions in practice.”

Which is what Bowden said happened in last week’s loss to Georgia Tech. Spence suggested backup quarterback Will Proctor get the start against the Yellow Jackets after taking the majority of the snaps in last week’s practices.

“A starting quarterback should get at least 65 to 75 present of the reps,” Spence said. “For me to feel comfortable, that is where it will have to be.”

Bowden said he veto Spence’s decision last week, which he admitted was a mistake and was ultimately the culprit to Whitehurst’s poor decision making on a few throws.

“Last week we stayed with Charlie because the score was close and I went with experience,” he said. “We should have gone with practice experience, which is the lesson that I have learned. “The determining factor this week will be the amount of practice time Charlie gets. If he practices a lot, then I would think that his shoulder is not sore. But if he can't practice, then I'd say it’s pretty sore.”

Whitehurst was at practice Tuesday and did participate in a good part of the drills. As for what Whitehurst does and doesn’t do in practice, nothing is different from the other quarterbacks and he isn’t limited from any throws the scheme calls for during a game.

“It doesn’t limit what you can do in play calling,” Spence said. “(Whitehurst) has enough arm to throw anything that we throw. I just worry about him hurting his arm when we throw the ball deep and long down the field in practice.


Whitehurst has attempted 253 passes so far this year, compared to 349 last year, and 465 in 2003. He has completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards and eight touchdowns.

“I do know right now that he is on pace to have the school record for passing percentage in a season. As far as passing efficiency, he is on pace to do better than he did as a sophomore, when he was really effective,” Bowden said. “Again, it’s now a new offense and there are different decisions that are more efficiently made with practice time.”

If Proctor does get the call this week, Spence said he does bring something different to the table when he is in there.

“Will has a tad bit more athleticism and quickness,” Spence said. “It doesn’t change our offense. We just take advantage of what ever a player can do. It’s not that big of a deal, it is always going to be different with each player that goes in there.”

As for any quarterback controversy, Bowden said the decision to maybe start Proctor has come up only because of Whitehurst’s injury and nothing more.

“It’s a pretty cut and dry situation from a preparation standpoint,” Bowden said. “It is strictly a health issue and preparation.”

Whitehurst says he plans on starting.

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