Q&A with Charlie Whitehurst

"By the second half, they kept calling those running plays and I remember just breaking the huddle saying 'Gosh, what's going on here?" said Clemson QB Charlie Whitehurst. "That was fine with me though. I surprised myself actually with a couple of cuts I made (laughing)."

Has the win really sunk in yet? I mean, you guys beat one of the best teams in the country last weekend?
Whitehurst: No, I don't think it really has to be honest with you. Me and Tommy Sharpe were talking about that today in class. If you don't really sit down and think about it, then you don't realize that's what you just did. It was nice to part of a win like that though.

Are there any similarities this week in your preparations for Duke compared to the week you were getting ready for Wake Forest?
Whitehurst: Maybe a little bit. We know that we can't look ahead past anybody. I'm not saying that we did that against Wake Forest. We have to take every game seriously, and maybe subconsciously we didn't (against Wake). We just have to keep working and not look too far in the future or too far in the past either.

Does it help you a little bit to see that Duke beat Georgia Tech in convincing fashion this past weekend?
Whitehurst: Yeah I think so. It opened our eyes a little bit. They played N.C. State tough, they played Tennessee tough, and then they finally got a win against a pretty good team in Georgia Tech. They blew Georgia Tech out, and that really opened our eyes. We know that we can't those guys lightly.

Were you surprised at all at how many times you were rushing the ball against Florida State?
Whitehurst: I was. (laughing) It was a lot. By the second half, they kept calling those plays and I remember just breaking the huddle saying 'Gosh, what's going on here?' That was fine with me though. I came out of it and it didn't beat me up too much. I surprised myself actually with a couple of cuts I made (laughing). I think I ran all right.

I take it the ankle is fine now?
Whitehurst: Yeah, I turn it a little bit every Tuesday when we get out there and practice hard for the first time. But I always have it taped real good, so it's fine.

What do you remember about last year's game at Duke?
Whitehurst: Well, we were about beat, and then we came back and won the game. You kind of look at it afterwards and you think, 'Gosh, we almost got beat by Duke.' They hadn't won in a bunch of games in a row and that was my first start. So, that wouldn't have been too good. But we kind of gutted it out and got the win.

What have you learned as a quarterback through your first year on the job?
Whitehurst: I think the biggest thing for all young players is what happens in the first half, or the first three quarters, really doesn't decide the ball game. It's won or loss in the 4th quarter. Also, not to panic or get over confident with what goes on in the first half. Other than that, just making better decisions on a consistent basis. Last year, I threw a couple of long touchdown passes, and that's great, but a lot of times completing a pass on 3rd and 5 is just as important. You just have to take things one play at a time.

Did you know last year when you came out of the Duke game that you had threw for that many yards?
Whitehurst: Well, I had never threw for over 300 yards before that game. I remember coming off the field and somebody telling me congratulations and I didn't know what he was congratulating me for? We almost lost the game? He said, 'you threw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns.' I thought maybe it was like 250 or something like that. It was pretty surprising.

And then there was that touchdown pass to Airese Currie on 4th down.
Whitehurst: Yeah, if we don't get that play, the game is probably over and we walk out of there with a loss. Coach Bowden has reminded us of that plenty this week. They about snuck up on us last year, and they are even better this year. So, we know we can't those guys lightly at all.

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