5 Intriguing Questions for CU's QBs

Will the play-calling be more aggressive with a fifth-year senior calling the shots under center? How does Willy Korn fit into the picture? These are just two of the questions worth pondering when discussing Clemson's quarterbacks.

#5. When will the Clemson fan base show more support Cullen Harper?
It seems like a ridiculous question to ponder considering Harper broke 22 school records and was named a second-team All-ACC performer behind the top QB in the nation in Matt Ryan last year, and it is. There's a contingent of fans who still believe Harper was the beneficiary of conservative play calling and had his best games against inferior competition last year. Perhaps there is some truth in that, but also consider it was Harper who directed the game-winning drive, on the road, against archrival South Carolina. It was also Harper who placed a perfectly thrown deep ball to Aaron Kelly that could have beaten Boston College to advance the Tigers to the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech. And it wasn't Harper who dropped nine passes, missed four field goals and had a punt blocked in a 13-3 loss at Georgia Tech either. While it's understandable that the local fans want to see the local guy do well, Harper had one of the greatest seasons of any quarterback in Clemson history in 2007 and deserves the complete and full support of the fans entering his senior season.

#4. Will Willy Korn receive meaningful snaps?
Given that Korn is the more mobile quarterback and is now 100 percent, it seems likely the answer to this question is, "yes." While Tommy Bowden and Rob Spence are admittedly "one quarterback coaches" it stands to reason Korn could be brought in for a nice change of pace as opposed to strictly being designated for mop up duty against The Citadel, S.C. State and Duke. Again, it hasn't happened under Bowden's watch in nine seasons, but it should this year.

Considering all of the offensive weapons returning in 2008, Cullen Harper should get close to his production from a year ago.
#3. With Harper having a year of starting experience under his belt, will Rob Spence be more aggressive in his play calling?
Fast forward ahead two months and imagine the Clemson offense marching on the field of the Georgia Dome for its first series against Alabama. Care to guess what the first call of the game will be? In unison, say it with me now, "B-u-b-b-l-e s-c-r-e-e-n." Spence does as good a job of any coordinator in the country of getting the football in the hands of his top playmakers, but he'll need to be more aggressive this year to maximize this team's potential. And the good news is he'll be able to do it because he knows Harper is up to the task. The offensive line? Well that's another story. See question No. 1 posted below.

#2. Are both Harper and Korn back to 100 percent?
In a word- yes. Harper had surgery before the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in hopes that the shoulder pain he had suffered since scoring on a four-yard scoring plunge against Boston College would go away. While it did, the bowl game ended up being a series of mishaps as he misfired on several deep balls, due mainly his shoulder not being 100 percent. All of those issues are gone and Harper picked right up where he left off against South Carolina last year- throwing successfully on every route imaginable. Meanwhile Korn is back to 100 percent after being medically redshirted last year after hurting his shoulder against Furman. Health should be no concern for Clemson's top two quarterbacks.

#1. Can Harper duplicate his first-year success with so many new starters on the offensive line?
While the line replaces four starters from a year ago, last year's unit wasn't great in terms of protection- giving up 35 sacks in 13 games. Some of those times Harper held onto the ball too long, other times the line was overmatched and collapsed. Regardless of who you want to blame, Harper needs better overall protection if he wants to come close to his 2007 numbers of 2,900 yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions. Just as important as the line, he'll also have the luxury of all of his key skill players back in WR Aaron Kelly, RB James Davis, RB C.J. Spiller, WR Jacoby Ford and WR Tyler Grisham. Considering all of those weapons returning, Harper should get close to his production from a year ago, even with some growing pains on the offensive line.

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