Top 5 Questions for Spring Practice: No. 5

Simply put, the success of the Clemson football team in 2006 rests squarely on the shoulders of fifth-year quarterback Will Proctor.

5) How will red-shirt senior Will Proctor handle being the starting quarterback?
Proctor has waited for this moment from the time he first left his high school in Winter Park, Fla. and decided to play for the Tigers some four years ago. He came to Clemson with big-time numbers but never saw the field, waiting patiently behind Charlie Whitehurst.

As a result, over the last four seasons, Proctor has played sparingly and started just once, which came in 2005 against lowly Duke. He put up decent numbers in his only start by completing 13-of-21 passing attempts for 201 yards, with no interceptions and two touchdowns. He also ran 11 times for 31 yards and a touchdown.

But keep in mind that it was against the Blue Devils. Similar numbers would be expected out of third-string quarterback Cullen Harper.

Proctor also saw the field in the 2005 season opener against 17th ranked Texas A&M, completing 2-of-4 passes for 28 yards. Just as important as those stats was his ability to stay poised as he directed the Tigers to two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including the eventual game-winning drive that ended in a 42-yard field goal by Jad Dean.

"Once you get that first snap under your belt and execute a play, the nerves are gone and you're definitely aware of the situation," Proctor said afterwards.

All expectations are that Proctor will do just fine in offensive coordinator Rob Spence's offense. There are even some who believe Proctor will thrive even more so than the graduating Charlie Whitehurst because of his ability to run, which is something Spence wants out of his signal callers.

Said Reggie Merriweather, "Will, he'll run out of the pocket. And when we need a big play, we always look for Will, because he'll throw it deep. He doesn't take any hesitation. He doesn't think about it and doesn't panic, and that's what you're supposed to do. So we have a lot of confidence in him."

However, if Proctor struggles, so too will the Tigers. There are no other options. As he goes, so goes Clemson. Top Stories