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Clemson Football

The Second Half: An Accountable Cade Klubnik leads Clemson against Miami

October 21, 2023

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Clemson has had their fair share of ups and downs during the first half of the 2023 season. The Tigers stumbled out of the gate, falling at Duke 28-7, then lost a heartbreaking overtime game 31-24 against Florida State in Death Valley. Standing at 4-2 overall 2-2 in the ACC, the Tigers are looking to make a strong push in the second half of the season. Leading the charge is sophomore quarterback Cade Klubnik.

Klubnik, the Austin, Texas native, has dealt with his own issues during his first season as Clemson’s starting quarterback. At other times, Klubnik has provided a beacon of hope, bringing his unique brand of finesse and precision to the field. With 1,370 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and just two interceptions to his name. When Klubnik protects the football-- which has been his biggest bugaboo this year-- this Clemson offense has played really well.

The Tigers' early-season losses were tough, but this team, led by head coach Dabo Swinney, seems determined to bounce back. Klubnik's growing composure will be a key asset, especially tonight, as Clemson returns to the field to face Miami. Recently, Klubnik met with the media to discuss the team's outlook for the remainder of the season and the significance of the bye week for the Tigers.

"I think it’s definitely necessary, and there’s a reason they do it and every team has a bye week," Klubnik said, emphasizing the importance of the mid-season break. "For a physical aspect of just trying to get to reset and you know, football is a very physical game."

Klubnik's physical condition is undoubtedly crucial, but he also pointed out the mental preparation provided by a bye week. "My body feels really good right now, and I'm super thankful to not have any injuries. But, this is also just a time to rest the arm and get everything flushed out and reset."

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Cade Klubnik (right), Will Shipley, and Offensive Coordinator Garrett Riley discuss a recent play in Death Valley.

A major focus for the Tigers in the second half of the season is improving offensive consistency. Klubnik recognizes the need for the offense to continue evolving, saying, "I think just putting drives together. Trusting and playing for each other more than anything."

He also acknowledged that there's always room for growth, especially when it comes to making the right decisions on the field. "Making plays when they (need) to be made, but not forcing it is one struggle I (had) in the first few games."

Klubnik is quick to shoulder responsibility for his issues on the field, even when the blame may not lie entirely with him. He discussed a recent miscommunication that led to a fumble with running back Will Shipley, saying, "He can take the blame, but it was my fault. My read was to pull it, and then I saw the scraper, and I tried to give it late. I just gotta be decisive."

As for a self-assessment at the midway point of the season, Klubnik remains modest but focused on improvement.

"I don't know about an actual grade, but for me, I have seen myself get better every week in certain categories,” Klubnik noted. “I feel like I have added a little bit more every single week in my mind and just trying to put it all together in one game. I still have a long way to go."

As Clemson prepares to take on Miami tonight, the Tigers and their young quarterback are poised to make a statement in the second half of the season. Klubnik will need a solid game, as Miami’s offense can put up a lot of points. Klubnik's growth as a player and a leader is a promising sign for Clemson fans, but the Tigers will need to see more from him tonight to bring home a win.

Tune in at 8:00 PM on the ACC Network to watch Klubnik and the Tigers as they look to continue their journey to redemption.

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The Second Half: An Accountable Cade Klubnik leads Clemson against Miami

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