Whitehurst Confident in New Offense

After two games, Clemson senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst is completing close to 80% of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

You talked a little bit earlier this week about the big play to Curtis Baham in the Maryland game last weekend Can you just walk us through that play and sort of tell us what happened there?
Whitehurst: We had run some of those split screens with the wide receivers pretty successfully in the previous two games, and we just tried to fake it. We pump and he jumps, and he really sells the fake. And Curtis throws the block, and then runs past him and he scores. When you're third and 10 you don't expect that to work, but it was man-to-man coverage, and we kind of fooled them and we made it work.

The vertical passing game – is that something that we should expect to see a little bit more of as the season goes on? Is this offense to the point where you can start taking more chances?
Whitehurst: If we need to, I think we will, and I think we will need to. It's one of those things that everybody has to feel comfortable with it. We've got some new receivers; of course, we've got a new offense. You have to make these new coaches and everybody feel comfortable with me dropping back. You've got the protection standpoint there, too. There are a lot of things that have to happen to throw the ball downfield. I think we will see more of it; I don't know how much more.

Looking to Saturday's game, do you expect to see much more man coverage or zone coverage – what kind of look does their defense give you?
Whitehurst: They're going to be very aggressive. We will get a good bit of man coverage and it is similar but they're probably more in your face. They're probably going to see if we can beat them throwing the football. I'd suspect they'd try to stop the run just like everybody does, but because we really try to commit to that, we're going to do that. We're just going to have to see how it goes. It can change throughout the game; we'll just see what happens.

Have you been surprised by the success of your running game so far, averaging right at 170 yards if you take away that bad snap last weekend?
Whitehurst: We have been successful on the ground. I think everybody knows what we're trying to do. We're definitely committed to it by the numbers and the attempts we had. It definitely makes everybody's job easier from the quarterback's to the offensive line's to the defense – it keeps them off the field. I think we went 10 minutes on our first drive, and I think that's definitely a credit to our running game, so it just helps everybody out.

Last year's win against Miami – does that come into play at all this week in preparing for this football game?
Whitehurst: Probably just from the fact that from a confidence level - we know we can beat them. They're a tremendously talented team; they're a good football team and we'll have to be on our best to beat them again. But we have proven to ourselves it is possible and that's very important.

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