Whitehurst Woes Continue

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, the problem seems to be getting worse. <BR><BR>

Following a game last week at Texas A&M, where the junior threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, Whitehurst turned in his worst performance of his 26 games as a starter against Florida State Saturday.

When the final horn sounded, Whitehurst was 10-of-24 passing for 88 yards and three interceptions. Moreover, he lost two fumbles.

The 10 completions and 88 yards are career lows for Whitehurst as a starter. The 88 yards as a team were the lowest amount in the Tommy Bowden era at Clemson.

Over his last two games, Whitehurst has six interceptions and three lost fumbles. On the season, he has 13 of the team's 14 turnovers, 10 of which are interceptions.

"It's as low as I've been in a while," Whitehurst said. "I'm going to work hard. It'll come to me. I think I'm a good enough player to get through it. I think I'm mentally strong to get through it and that's what I plan to do."

The sudden problem of turning the ball Whitehurst is having is somewhat mind boggling for the coaching staff. But maybe it shouldn't be.

Whitehurst threw at least one interception in each of the final five games last season. And dating back to last year, he's thrown at least two interceptions in five of his last seven games.

For his career, Whitehurst has started 23 games, thrown 28 interceptions and 35 touchdowns.

The whole situation is starting to wear on Whitehurst mentally.

"I think anybody who has done anything athletically you understand the frustrations that he has," Clemson offensive coordinator Mike O'Cain said. "You keep fighting and you keeping going through these periods. We have them before. You don't like them. It's frustrating. It's aggravating. But at the same time, we're not at a point where you throw your hands up in the air and ask, ‘Where do we go from here?' You just keep working."

To his credit, Whitehurst hasn't sulked about his play. He's faced the situation and owned up to his mistakes like a man.

He hasn't blamed the receivers for dropping some passes and he hasn't ripped the poor play of the offensive line, which has yielded nine sacks the last two games and countless other hits on Whitehurst.

Nonetheless, he knows he has to improve his performance.

If he doesn't, the Tigers most likely won't qualify for a bowl game this year.

The onus is on Whitehurst, himself. The options are limited as for what O'Cain or Bowden can do about Whitehurst's problem of taking care of the ball.

"There is no answer," O'Cain said. "If I knew the answer, we'd get it corrected and next week we'd be fine. It's just a matter of playing through it."

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