Checking In with Charlie

Few quarterbacks have put together the career at Clemson that Charlie Whitehurst did between 2002 and 2005. Today, CUTigers.com checks with Charlie in the middle of his second preseason with the San Diego Chargers.

Other Training Camp Updates:
* LeRoy Hill Still Follows His Tigers
* Fudge Shows Staying Power
* Dustin Fry Competing for Playing Time in St. Louis
* Tye Hill Adjusting Well in Year No. 2

After being drafted in the third round by the San Diego Chargers, former Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst spent last year learning the ropes behind current starter and former N.C. State standout Phillip Rivers.

Whitehurst, who lives in Clemson during the offseason, owns virtually all of the school's career passing records and will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Tiger fans everywhere because he helped his team go a perfect 4-0 against in-state rival South Carolina during his time as a collegian.

CUTigers recently caught up with him from Chargers training camp by phone and here's that exchange.

CUTigers: What are your thoughts on Clemson freshman QB Willy Korn?
Whitehurst: I don't know a lot about him and have never seen him throw a football. I met him a couple of times while I was back in Clemson over the summer working out. From what I hear from everybody, he's going to be a really good player. But I can't comment since I haven't seen him throw a football. I'm sure he'll do a great job.

CUTigers: Just two years removed from the program, you have to be somewhat familiar with the team that is coming back this year at Clemson. Can you talk about the Tigers' chances this year in the ACC?
Whitehurst: When you have those two running backs like they do, I think that anything is possible. They have to replace the entire offensive line and if they can do that, they will be fine on offense. I'm not sure about defense since I just don't spend enough time on that. I think they're going to have a good season though.

CUTigers: What home game(s) do you plan on making it to?
Whitehurst: I want to say that our bye week falls on one of the nonconference games (against Central Michigan on October 21). It's one they should win, so I'm going to get back for that one.

FF6600>"We've got a place up there (at Clemson)," said Whitehurst. "When I'm not working out here in San Diego, I would probably rather be in Clemson than anywhere else. I've got some great friends up there and it's so much more relaxing than Atlanta. When I get some time off, I love to go back there. I consider that kind of my home right now."
CUTigers: Can you talk about how different training camp is for you this year compared to how it was for you last year as a rookie?
Whitehurst: From my standpoint, I'm a lot more comfortable now and know the offense better. I go in there now and my head isn't spinning. That makes it easier to perform. We do have a new (offensive) coordinator but the system hasn't changed. It's been a bit easier. Training camp is never easy but it's been easier to go in there and perform this year than it was last year.

CUTigers: You've been in Clemson some this offseason, can you talk about spending your time there and what it means to you?
Whitehurst: We've got a place up there. When I'm not working out here in San Diego, I would probably rather be in Clemson than anywhere else. I've got some great friends up there and it's so much more relaxing than Atlanta. When I get some time off, I love to go back there. I consider that kind of my home right now.

CUTigers: How close do you think you are to being a starter in the NFL?
Whitehurst: I think I'm pretty close. I think that if I was pushed into that role, I'm confident that I could perform. I'm not where I want to be yet for sure and want to continue to mature as a quarterback and get as much work before that happens. But if that were to happen, I think I would be ready for it.

CUTigers: Did you endure any hazing last year as a rookie?
Whitehurst: I don't think it's as big a deal as it used to be. I'm sure that other teams haze some but we really don't here. Everybody has to sing in front of the team when they get in the NFL, but that's really no big deal. I think this year, there is going to be a rookie show. We got lucky and missed that by one year.

CUTigers: What goals have you set for the 2007 season?
Whitehurst: It's really hard to set concrete goals for myself because you don't know how the season is going to play out and all that. For me, I want to get as good as I can. I think I can improve every aspect of my game. Physically, I think I have all the tools to be successful and have the mental capacity and all that. But it all depends on how much work you put in and I've definitely tried to work as hard as I can and get better as fast as I can.

CUTigers: What ranks as your favorite memory at Clemson?
Whitehurst: It would probably be when we beat South Carolina in 2002. I didn't know it at the time but that was probably the most fun that I ever had at that stadium.

CUTigers: Do you miss playing baseball at all?
Whitehurst: For one, I don't have time to worry about it. Two, I really don't miss it. It was my first love growing up and football was my second. But at age 10-12, that quickly changed when I started playing football. I definitely love baseball but would much rather be a football player. There are many different reasons for that.

CUTigers: What's it like to have the top running back in the NFL, Ladainian Tomlinson, for a teammate?
Whitehurst: You kind of have to pinch yourself. I'm sure we all take him for granted being his teammate. If he can continue doing what he's doing, he has a chance to go down as one of the greats, if not the greatest of all time. He is the star of the NFL right now along with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. People should watch how he conducts himself. I think that he does it the right way and that's why everybody loves him. You never hear anything negative about the guy. The way he handles himself, it's just a pleasure to be his teammate.


Charlie Whitehurst at the Senior Bowl (01/2005)

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