AUDIO: Cullen Harper

GREENSBORO, Ga. - Listen and read what Cullen Harper had to say at the ACC's Annual Football Kickoff.

(6:11)

So, Cullen how is it coming to a season where there are no expectations? (laughing)
Harper: We're really flying under the radar right now looking to sneak up on some people. (laughing)

Is that something you have to talk about as a team, or do you ignore it [the expectations]?
Harper: It's something you have to deal with. For me personally, I don't view the expectations being negative in any sort. It's a positive. It's good exposure for Clemson. When I came to Clemson University, it was with the intention of playing in an ACC Championship game. Now that the expectations are there, I really feel like we have the players, the talent, the coaching staff to make this thing happen.

How much have you heard, "Oh Clemson hasn't won an ACC Championship since 1991." Do hear that from family friends, etc?
Harper: I've heard it a lot. We heard it a lot last year and the year before that. It's time for Clemson to step up and put ourselves on the map as one of the top teams in the ACC.

What's it been like for you this year being on magazine covers and everything compared to a year ago?
Harper: There hasn't been a difference. I always had confidence in myself but I really didn't know how I would go out there and play. This year I know I have got the talent and I know my coaching staff will put me in position to make a play. So I'm a lot more confident this year right now then I was last year. Still, I know I still have to work hard every day and take everything seriously.

Do you enjoy the extra attention you are getting right now or is it a burden?
Harper: I enjoy it. For the first time in my career all the attention is on Clemson and on this offense and on me. I'm not letting it go to my head or anything like that, I'm just making sure I stay focused and continue to do the right thing.

Have you heard this comment, "If Clemson doesn't win it this year, when will it ever win it?"
Harper: You know, that's a statement you could really take seriously. We've got the coaching staff. We've got the talent. We've had good recruiting classes. It kind of feels like all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place to go out there and win this thing. We just have to go out there and make sure we do it.

You've been talking about last year and your shoulder and everything during the Boston College game. What happened there?
Harper: Well I didn't practice the next Monday after the B.C. game. I It honestly felt like every throw it would come out of place. I felt like it was dangling there. Any time I would have to come across my body but basically any time I had to throw the ball my shoulder was just [messed up]. The South Carolina game- it was extremely uncomfortable and then I had surgery and it took a little longer than I expected to fully recover. It took about two months to get comfortable. In the bowl game it was about 60 percent. It was still tight. I couldn't really get lose. I just didn't have a good feel for it. I thought I would be 100 percent for the game but I wasn't. But I feel 100 percent now. Right now I feel like I'm throwing the ball better than I ever have.

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