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The Rise and Fall of the Cullen Harper Empire

Collegesportspro.comContributor IOctober 10, 2008

Only Charlie Weis could know how Clemson QB Cullen Harper feels right now.

One moment you’re on top of the world, and the next moment you’re stinking up the place.

After a lousy 15/35 performance by Harper, coach Tommy Bowden is going to the bullpen. Redshirt freshman Willy Korn is going to get his chance to pull Clemson out of the rut of a disappointing season.

So here’s my train of thought: Your offense scores one TD in seven quarters, even though they have two very good running backs to mix it up with. They’re a little banged up, and your best wide receiver only has 250 yards on the year...and you’re going to blame the QB that brought you back to prominence?

When the Tigers can’t run the ball, they’re messed. That’s the bottom line. How was Harper in the games where Clemson ran the ball well? Solid. How was he when they got flattened? Not so good.

So you’re going to Willy Korn because he’s mobile and provides the offense with more options? Is he going to pull a Terelle Pryor out there and lead a game-winning drive?

Doubt it. Much love to ya, Willy. You’re going to be a good QB. But I doubt it. You may have some good backs, but you don’t have the best running back in the nation as a decoy.

If you already have two runners that can impose their will on opposing teams and they’re not already taking over games, chances are a third might just give you more of the same result.

If you’ve got a banged up line that can’t hold up against having a bunch of guys in the box, you’ll still get more of the same. If all-ACC WR Aaron Kelly cannot get his hands on more completions, you’ll still get more of the same.

The Tigers’ problems go a lot deeper than just Harper. If you want to get a spark, bring Korn in off the bench to throw the defense off balance. Give Harper a breather. Don’t let the defense settle down. Run one with Korn, hand one off, throw one with Harper, throw one with Korn, hand another one off...

Bowden may just be mimicking Jim Tressel, but there’s a big difference between Todd Boeckman and Cullen Harper—Boeckman was never really that good to begin with.

I just hope Tommy knows what he’s doing. Because right now, he’s either going to be a mastermind or a goat. He better hope and pray Willy Korn grows up quickly. Because we all know the kid can play some good ball, but the only question is: Can he play right now?

For Bowden’s press conference, go here and enjoy.

Oh, and by the way, Willy Korn has a fansite.

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