On the Record: Cullen Harper

CLEMSON - CUTigers.com sits down for a one-on-one interview with Clemson QB Cullen Harper.

Clemson QB Cullen Harper will lead the ACC's No. 2 passing offense against Central Michigan on Saturday, but it's the ground game that seems to be the big topic of conversation with Clemson fans lately.

What will it take to get James Davis and C.J. Spiller going this week?

CUTigers.com sat down with Harper in another edition of On the Record to find out:

Cullen, the mentality of this football team right now ... can you talk about that and does this team still believe it still has a chance to accomplish all of its main goals?
Harper: Everybody is still optimistic about where we can go and what we can do this season. You look around college football right now and a lot of good teams are sitting there with two losses. Teams like Georgia and Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. Sure we'd like to be 6-0 or 5-1 but we are 4-2. There is still a lot left on the table that we want to accomplish and we believe we can do it.

You've seen this program turn things around before, even under worse circumstances. With some of the veterans on this team having that experience, does that give you more confidence you guys can do the same thing again?
Harper: Yeah we've been in this situation before. My true freshman year (2004) we started 1-4 and finished very strong. My redshirt freshman year we finished very well. A lot of people on this team have been in this situation where we've had to step our game up and the pressure has been on us to finish strong. We are very capable of that this year. We have a good attitude about it and we still feel like we have a lot to accomplish.

The running game has suffered some this year. What needs to happen to improve that part of the offense?
Harper: We have to continue to throw the ball well. The offensive line has to continue to be tough and nasty and get a good surge. The running backs have to trust the offensive line that those holes are going to be there and they have to run hard. Right now, it's just a matter of us going out there to do it.

From a quarterback's perspective, when you use more of the spread formation, how does that help the offensive line?
Harper: Well it spreads everybody out and lets you get the ball to guys in state and lets them make plays after they catch the ball. It really opens up everything and takes a little pressure off the line as well. Hopefully the idea is you can establish the passing game use that to get your ground game going.

Would you have rather gotten back on the field after consecutive losses or do you feel like the open date came at a good time?
Harper: It was a good time to have it terms of injuries. We had three solid practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It would have been nice to get back onto the field. It was good for us to kind of re-adjust on where we are and re-evaluate where the season is headed. It came at the best time possible.

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