Whitehurst: Trying to Loosen Up

Following a very uneventful day that involved film watching and practice in just helmets, CUTigers.com was there for exclusive one-on-one interviews with Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and freshman OL Barry Richardson. <BR>

Whitehurst, a junior, said he's had a tough time of it the last few days without having any football practice to take his mind off of what happened Saturday at Florida State.

"It's always nice to get back out here," he said. "When you sit around the apartment and stuff all day, you can't put it behind you. I was thinking about it pretty much all day for a couple of days. But I think when you get back around the team, it loosens you up a little bit and that's what I'm trying to do. It's hard. But that's what I'm trying to do. I'm just trying to put it behind me."

The Tigers (1-3 overall, 1-2 ACC) have a bye weekend before traveling to Charlottesville, Va., for a nationally televised primetime game next Thursday.

"I think it comes at a good time," Whitehurst said of the bye. "If we were winning games and you had some momentum, that's when you don't want it to come."

With the extra days of practice before the next contest, Whitehurst if fully confident everything that has been a problem, like the 14 turnovers the team has committed, will be corrected before Clemson takes on the Cavaliers.

"My biggest concern is the fumbles," he said. "The interceptions were bad, but the fumbles are more of a problem, I think in my mind. I'm not going to let five plays or how ever many it was define my play. Other than those five plays, I think I played OK. And I know you can't get rid of them. They did happen. You've just got to try and improve on that and not think about that and think about the good things and move on and try and keep your confidence up."

Meanwhile, Richardson said he was shocked when offensive line coach Brad Scott informed him Tuesday that he was the new starter at left tackle.

"I was surprised," he said. "I didn't think it would happen this fast. But we'll see how it goes. It's just one game."

However, even though the big guy was somewhat surprised, it doesn't mean he's the least bit nervous about starting. He's just taking everything in stride.

But he knows there are some things he has to do different now that he's with the first team.

"The reaction is the same as the second string," he said. "I just can't make the same mistakes on first string that I've made on second string. I've got to remember code names and checks and blitzes."

Watkins and Fudge have Death in Family
Redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Watkins will leave the team Wednesday to attend the funeral of his older brother, who died Friday morning due to a heart condition. His brother was just 26.

Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said he, running back coach Burton Burns and the team Chaplin had to inform Watkins of the situation Friday just as team was boarding the bus to leave for Florida State. Bowden said Watkins sat in a police car for a few moments of private time.

As most expect, Bowden said it was difficult to tell Watkins of his older brother, who at one time had signed a scholarship to play at LSU.

"It's hard. It's hard. It's right there (with someone dying in your family)," Bowden said. "You know exactly what he's feeling like. That's about the only thing you can sympathize with him."

Also, safety Jamaal Fudge will leave the team Thursday and return Sunday to attend the funeral of his grandmother.

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