Saturday Scrimmage Notebook

CLEMSON – As Will Proctor struggled game after game almost from the outset last season, Cullen Harper sat quietly on the sideline knowing that his day would soon come. And now that it has finally arrived, he's making the most of it.

In Clemson's second spring scrimmage at Memorial Stadium, the rising redshirt junior quarterback once again was head-and-shoulders above his competition and continues to solidify himself as the team's best quarterback.

"I think spring's been going really well," said Harper, who was 14-of-21 passing for 140 yards and one touchdown. "I think we've been able to move the ball on offense and I've been getting more and more comfortable. It's all about getting the reps."

Harper's passes were crisp and sharp and nearly always on target. They didn't flutter or float or wobble. He also hit his receivers in stride, which was something rarely seen from that position last year.

Last season, Harper was given little time as Proctor took nearly all the snaps in practice and in games. However, when Harper did see the field, he performed well.

The Alpharetta, Ga., native saw action in four games last year and went 14-of-20 (70 percent) for 155 yards and two touchdowns. He also had no interceptions.

Based on what he's done thus far this spring and the numbers he put up in his brief play last season, it makes many wonder why he was never given much more of an opportunity to play last year when things were headed South.

Harper was one of the ones wondering, too.

"I think I'm a good player," he said. "I think I could have done this last year. But it was up to the coaches. I'm not really dwelling on the past."

When asked after Saturday's scrimmage why Harper wasn't given more reps last year, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rob Spence declined to comment. He said he didn't want to talk about what happened during the fall.

Ray Ray eases concerns
The continued improved play of Ray Ray McElrathbey has head coach Tommy Bowden a lot more comfortable with his running back situation heading into August.

What was once a mountain of concern is now little more than a mole hill.

In Saturday's scrimmage, the rising sophomore had seven carries for 28 yards and scored a couple of touchdowns in goal line situations.

"I've been real pleased with his progress," Bowden said. "We still need to (sign another running back), but I've been real pleased with him."

Field goal woes
Rising redshirt freshman field goal kicker Richard Jackson described his day as "embarrassing."

He was just 1-for-4 on field goal attempts and the one he did make hit the crossbar and bounced through.

"It was just a relief just to get that," he said. "I still just finding that comfort level. It's been a while since I've have live kicks. I've just got to get back into a rhythm."

When asked how long he thinks it will take him getting used to kicking in live situations and to get into a rhythm, Jackson responded, "I thought I had it fixed for today. But that obviously wasn't the case."

Quick hits
Three defensive players missed the scrimmage because each one of them had their grandmother pass away this week. Safeties Sadat Chambers and Chris Clemmons, as well as walk-on cornerback Terrance Odom, of Williston, S.C., will return to practice this week. …

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said the thing he liked best out of his defense was the way the players played with passion and enthusiasm. Koenning said he has the most fun when the players are having fun. … Koenning said Byron Maxwell is right on the heels of cornerback Crezdon Butler for the starting spot.

Freshman safety DeAndre McDaniel continues to wow the coaching staff. He is so good at finding his way to the ball even when he goes about it the wrong way that Koenning is letting McDaniel "freelance" much the same way he does with linebacker Antonio Clay. …

Quarterback Michael Wade didn't take a single snap Saturday, while Tribble Reese (4-of-9, 47 yards) only had a few. Willy Korn (8-of-17, 80 yards, 1 INT) took the majority the snaps with the second team. … Tailback C.J. Spiller and receiver Jacoby Ford left the scrimmage early so they could participate in a track meet. Top Stories