Harper Aims for Bounceback Game

CLEMSON - It's been a while since Cullen Harper put up the kind of numbers that led him to smash more than 20 school records a year ago.

But the senior from Canton, Ga. is hoping that will all change Saturday afternoon against The Citadel.

CUTigers.com sat down with the ACC preseason player of the year to get his thoughts on what transpired last weekend in the Georgia Dome as well as look ahead to the rest of the season in this 1-on-1 interview transcribed below:

Cullen I know this is not the first time this week you've been asked this question, but what happened Saturday night against Alabama?
Harper: Alabama, they are a good football team. You have to give them credit. When we came out, we didn't execute very well. We didn't have the ball a whole lot. But when we had it, we didn't do much with it. We just got outdone physically up front.

What are your thoughts on what happened with the offensive line?
Harper: Well, we had a lot of guys playing for the first time. Alabama was very good up front. They had that big guy from junior college and he was a heckuva player. So, along their defensive line and offensive line - they were very physical. That was a solid team.

So how do you fix things going forward? Obviously you don't play a team like Alabama in the next few weeks, but how do you fix the issues we saw Saturday night?
Harper: We have to make sure we come back this week, get to work and practice getting more physical. And just knowing what you are supposed to do and make sure we get better from week to week.

Was this game a case of the team reading its own press clippings?
Harper: No I don't think so. We came out and ran into some difficulties. Some guys got hurt and other guys had to step in and play. The offensive line was young and we knew that coming in. Once again you have to give credit to Alabama's defensive line- they were very solid.

What about the team's mindset right now?
Harper: I think we've responded well so far. Everybody was pretty upbeat at practice the first couple of days this week. Everybody knows we have a ton of football left. All of our goals are still out there to be accomplished. This game, in the grand scheme of things, would have been great to win and it was definitely disappointing to lose but there's just a whole lot more out there than just one game.

Tommy Bowden set he met with you and the other seniors on Monday. What did he tell you guys?
Harper: He just told us last year about teams like Georgia. Georgia got beat by South Carolina and they responded. Virginia Tech got crushed by LSU last year and then came back and won 11 games and won the ACC Championship. So, he just wanted to make sure to give us some real life examples that you can get beat early and still come back and have a great season.

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