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Clemson Football

Cade Klubnik 'excited' and 'ready' to lead the Clemson offense under Riley

March 7, 2023


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Cade Klubnik is the guy at quarterback for Clemson this spring, and it starts with a new offensive coordinator.

Klubnik discussed his role, new offensive coordinator, and the Tiger offense after Monday's practice. 

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney fired offensive coordinator Brandon Streeter after just one season running the offense. The Tigers hired TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley, fresh off the Horned Frogs' run to the national championship game. Klubnik was asked about the swift changes.

Klubnik on his reaction to Swinney hiring former TCU and SMU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley: 

"It's a business, and you got to understand that but love Coach Streeter. I tell people all the time, he's one of the best coaches I've ever had -- just as a human being and just as a man. [He] just led the group as people and as men. He wasn't trying to just make better football players but just make better people and [I] just love having him around. [I'm] definitely going to miss him and [I] still keep in touch with him. But at the same time, super excited about Coach Riley. Just super excited for what he's going to bring and what he already has brought. (It’s) just kind of a fresh start for this offense and just a fresh start for this program and just kind of get things rolling. I'm excited. I love him."

TCU's offense was ranked 27th compared to the Tigers’ 48th. The offense averaged 455 yards compared to 410.3, average yards per play 6.69 (14th) to 5.60 (49th), and 70 (5th) touchdowns to 55 (28th). SMU finished 10th in offense in 2021 and 15th in 2020 under Riley. 

On whether the offense is a simplified version of his prep offense:

"I love the offense. It's efficient, and it's productive. It reminds me a lot of my high school offense. Just less plays, doing less and doing it better. I'm loving it. I'm loving the style and just the freedom of the offense."

At SMU, quarterbacks Shane Buechele (2020) and Tanner Mordecai (2021) combined to complete over 65 percent of their passes for over 6,723 yards with 62 touchdowns and 18 interceptions and TCU quarterback Max Duggan was a 2022 Heisman Trophy finalist after completing over 63 percent of his passes for 3,698 yards with 32 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. He also rushed for 423 yards with nine scores. 

On what excited him about Riley becoming the new OC:

"Honestly, just seeing what he had done in the past year and what he did at SMU in Texas. SMU hadn't been great for a little bit, and they kind of brought them out of the trenches and had a great couple years with Shane [Buechele] and then, obviously one year at TCU and to [the] national championship. Just credibility and what he's done in the past few years is super exciting. And you take a guy like Max Duggan, who has a pretty good career and, you know, makes him a Heisman finalist and national champion, almost national champion. Now he's going to be a first-round pick. I mean, what he could do with any type of quarterback. It just excited me to see what he's going to be able to do with this offense, and I'm looking to get better because I got a long way to go. So, I was just super excited by that."

Cole Turner, brother of Tampa Buccaneers and former Tigers safety Nolan Turner, was held out of 11 games to preserve a redshirt year for the lightly recruited wide receiver. In three games, he caught eight passes for 161 yards and recorded Clemson’s only 100-yard receiving game of the season vs. No. 24 North Carolina in the ACC Championship

On how big the spring is for helping to further build chemistry with Cole Turner:

"He had a heck of a day today. I mean in the team reps -- I know in the team blitz we were four for four and three of them were to him, and he's just going to keep getting better. He's a worker bee and keeps going and keeps on wanting to learn. He keeps his head down and keeps working. He loves to get coached. He's got all the athletic ability in the world, and it's really fun to watch him play. So it's going to be a big year for him."

Wide receiver Noble Johnson is one of 12 mid-year freshmen getting their first college practices under their belts beginning this week. The 6'3, 205-pound Rockwall, TX native is a physical specimen and may see early time with Beaux Collins, Troy Stellato, and Adam Randall out this spring. 

On what he has seen from fellow Texas native Noble Johnson thus far:

"He has a lot of physical attributes and wants to learn-- great route running skills early on. He's going to be a great player for us. He's going to do great things. I'm super excited about it."

Back at Westlake High in Texas, Klubnik established himself as a five-star recruit and as a leader as well. In his short time on campus, he has already flashed those leadership qualities. 

On being a leader and what other things he thinks he needs to work on:

"Yeah, just continue to work on my pocket presence and accuracy and continue to rally guys and push guys to places that they haven't pushed themselves before. And I feel now I kind of have that capability to just really encourage guys to like, let's keep going. We got some of the best athletes in the whole nation here and just getting their minds right, not saying that nobody doesn't, but we're not here to just have another year. We're here to win it all. That's the main goal here. If we don't do that, then the accomplishment isn't made."

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Cade Klubnik 'excited' and 'ready' to lead the Clemson offense under Riley

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