CLEMSON, S.C. — Dabo Swinney made it clear, the reason he brought in Garrett Riley to be his new offensive coordinator is because Clemson needs to be better in the passing game.
“We have the foundation to run the ball, but we have to get better at passing and catching the ball,” he said.
To do that, Swinney let long time assistant coach Brandon Streeter go as offensive coordinator and brought in Riley, formerly of TCU, to fix things.
In 2022, the Horned Frogs averaged 262 yards per game through the air and 30 yards more per game than Clemson. Though it was not a dominate passing game, it was a consistent one, and one that helped TCU lead the Big 12 in scoring and rank ninth nationally.
Swinney was also impressed with what Riley did in working with TCU quarterback Max Duggan. In his one year working with Riley, Duggan went from a middle-of-the-pack quarterback in his own conference to being a Heisman Trophy Finalist.
But Riley is not inheriting just any quarterback at Clemson. He is getting Cade Klubnik, a guy he heavily recruited during his time at SMU.
“I told Cade I had to come all the way to Clemson to get to work with him,” Riley said jokingly.
Klubnik is considered one of the up-and-coming quarterbacks in the country next season and Riley cannot wait to start working with him.
“I think he is the full package,” Riley said. “I have known of Cade and known Cade for about three years now. I recruited him while he was a young pup there at Austin-Westlake (High School) and the great career he had at the high school level.
“He is very talented. I just think between the ears, the way he carry’s himself, you know it does not take a rocket scientist to see that is kind of the magic with Cade Klubnik.”
The Orange Bowl was Klubnik’s lone start as a true freshman, but he came in early in the ACC Championship Game against North Carolina and led the Tigers to victory over North Carolina, while earning MVP honors.
He also came off the bench in the Syracuse game and led the Tigers to a come-from-behind win.
“I am very eager and anxious to get to work with him,” Riley said. “We just got off the road and we have not been able to do a lot with him or see him too much. But I know that kid is foaming at the mouth just like the rest of our players, and trust me, we as coaches are ready to get going with them, too.”
Clemson will begin spring practice on March 6.
Photo by Kevin Vandervort / All Clemson
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