CLEMSON, S.C.- Dabo Swinney wants the Clemson passing game to be more explosive. Enter Garrett Riley.
During his lone season as the offensive coordinator at TCU, Riley’s offense led the FBS with 22 plays from scrimmage of 50 yards or more, and that’s the kind of success the Tigers are looking for in 2023.
One of the keys to instant success will be how quickly the players can pick up the new offense, including quarterback Cade Klubnik, who is entering his first season as Clemson’s full-time starter. A handful of practices in, and Riley is more than happy with what he’s seen from the young signal caller.
“I think quickly,” Riley responded when asked how Klubnik was absorbing the new system “And again we’re all about simplicity and making it easy for that guy, number one. I mean that’s the whole thing.”
Riley said one of his goals was making things easier on Klubnik, and the fact that the quarterback has fully bought into the process is making the installation go that much smoother.
“If it’s easy for the quarterback, odds are it’s going to reap the benefits of that eventually,” Riley said. “So he’s grasped it well. I think all those guys have. They’ve had a great mentality from day one of learning in that quarterback position room. I think we got smart kids in there, guys that understand football.”
“A lot of things that he’s done at the high school level and things we did last year. It’s just probably doing a little bit more and higher repetition of it.”
After coming on in relief of a struggling DJ Uiagalelei and leading Clemson to an ACC Championship win over North Carolina, Klubnik made his first career start in the Orange Bowl. While he did throw for 320 yards in the loss to Tennessee, there were some freshman moments.
Riley is looking to help his quarterback take that next step in his development and he thinks the simplicity has already led to Klubnik to having more confidence in what he’s doing on the field.
“It’s great right now, three practices in,” he said. “But in terms of mentally where we’re at, they’ve got confidence with what we’re doing and so that’s a testament to our kids.”
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