Spearheading Riley's offensive strategy will be Cade Klubnik, a talented sophomore quarterback. Klubnik has already gained some experience in significant games such as the ACC Championship and Orange Bowl. Klubnik possesses a mature mindset when it comes to approaching the offense.
During Clemson's practice on Monday, Klubnik shared his perspective, stating, "All the QBs in general, you know in scrimmages and stuff like that, we can kind of get antsy to take big shots and you know, you want to make the big plays, but it's just taking what they give you, taking the easy stuff and taking the hitch route, taking a little slant. Ultimately, that's what puts drives together. We're not looking for a touchdown every single play, we're just looking to get the next first down. So, yeah, see that and navigate down the field."
It's understandable for the Clemson quarterbacks to feel the pressure to produce big plays. In the previous year, Clemson ranked 66th in plays over 20 yards and 75th in plays over 50 yards, with a mere 5 such plays. Throughout the entire season, the Tigers only had one play that exceeded 60 yards. In contrast, Riley's TCU offense excelled with a 4th ranking in plays of 20+ yards and an impressive 22 plays over 50 yards, including 13 plays over 60+ yards.
Klubnik further reflected on his high school coaches' advice, saying, "I remember one thing like my high school coaches told me is, you know, big shots are gonna happen. Big shots are never forced, big plays are never forced, they just happen. And those are created by taking what they give you, by taking the short stuff, intermediate stuff, safeties start creeping down, corners start creeping down, boom, now you got opportunities to make plays, right? If you're first down and you're averaging four to six yards on first down, and then you're sitting, you know, second and four every single time, that's when shots are going to happen. So not taking shots on first down and then giving yourself a second-and-long with being able to, you know, give yourself opportunities to take shots on the second and shorts and on the third and shorts."