Thunder and lightning II as advertised

Jamie Harper

CLEMSON - 15 carries and 76 productive yards later, Jamie Harper found plenty of things to improve upon after looking at the film from Saturday's 37-14 win over Middle Tennessee.

"As a player, you always criticize yourself," he said. "You just try to get better and always try to find room for improvement."

The obvious place to start is Willy Korn's third quarter interception that Harper admitted should have been a reception.

"As a playmaker, I've got to make that catch," Harper said. "It was a bang, bang play. The worst case scenario ended up happening. We've just got to live with it and keep moving."

Spelling C.J. Spiller, who missed time early and sat out the entire second half, Harper bruised his way to a five yard per carry average.

"I had to pick up from where he was down at. I had to just come out and fulfill my role," Harper said.

Kyle Parker said contributions from the backs not named Spiller are going to be needed throughout the season. Parker was impressed with Harper's performance.

"(Harper) ran the ball really hard," Parker said. "He got some tough yards. That's what we're going to need. In any offense, you're probably going to need a good ground game. It only makes your job as the quarterback easier."

The easy part of a running back's job is to find the hole, run through it, make the proper cut, doing it all with the ball in hand. Execution of the little things are what makes a more complete player.

That's where Harper sees room for improvement.

"It comes down to the nitty gritty as far as pass blocking and getting in there and being rough and tough," he said. "I think I could have done some things a little better."

Whether it's running in between the tackles, outside, pass blocking or running routes, he wants to execute whatever, whenever asked. Harper said that also goes for any Clemson running back.

Against Middle Tennessee, Andre Ellington carried nine times for 72 yards, including a long gain of 36. Parker's 44 yards were third best. Rendrick Taylor added 22 and Spiller totaled 12.

"Working with the running backs I work with everyday, everybody is pretty sound at what we're doing," Harper said. "The only differences are the names and our size."

There's also a difference in the change of his change in size from the end of his freshman season to now. He's dropped 25 pounds, checking in now around 225. There's no secret to his weight loss formula. It included lots of exercise and a good diet.

From the 2008 opener to this year's opener, Harper said his maturity level has made a change for the good.

"The big difference was body size and body weight. Coming down off of the summer, I'm just feeling better," he said. "I know the plays and I'm just feeling more comfortable when I go out there."

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