Analyst Reveals Major Improvement Needed From Clemson QB Cade Klubnik

Clemson Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik needs to make this major improvement in 2024.
Dec 29, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA;  Clemson Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) looks to pass the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second quarter during the Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium.
Dec 29, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik (2) looks to pass the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the second quarter during the Gator Bowl at EverBank Stadium. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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Heading into the 2024 college football season, there are a lot of differing opinions of what to expect from the Clemson Tigers.

Some analysts believe that they will be a legitimate contender, while others expect them to miss the College Football Playoffs. They certainly have the talent to compete, but can they get the most out of all of their talent?

Everything for Clemson will start with junior quarterback Cade Klubnik.

Klubnik will look to take a big leap forward in 2024. He has shown flashes of big-time potential, but has also struggled at times to make the right play. Dabo Swinney and the coaching staff has remained confident in their young quarterback.

During the 2023 season with the Tigers, Klubnik ended up completing 63.9 percent of his pass attempts for 2,844 yards, 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

Those numbers clearly aren't going to get the job done this season if Clemson wants to get back to being legitimate National Championship contenders.

Swinney and company will be needing a lot more production from him. He's capable of rising to the occasion, but there are many things that he will need to do to provide what the Tigers need.

On3 analyst Clark Brooks spoke out about Klubnik and revealed one major improvement that he needs to make this season.

“Stop throwing the ball into harm’s way. If you’re going to be a conservative Checkdown Charlie consistently targeting shorts, you don’t have that much margin for error, you cannot afford to give defenses mistakes."

Brooks continued on, talking about how important each and every play is for the Clemson offense with the way they run their strategy.

“The (Clemson offense) banks on being able to execute double-digit plays every single drive. You might not be able to get a lot of chunk plays, but if you’re just methodically marching down the field, then it works. But if you’re throwing in contested tight windows and you’re giving defenses chances to get you off the field, then it just completely nixes that operation.”

A very simple way to say what Brooks said in detail is that Klubnik needs to take better care of the football.

While he admitted that Klubnik might get frustrated quarterbacking such a conservative offense, he also honestly stated that he doesn't think the quarterback could lead a more vertical game plan.

“He’s just got to add a little bit more teeth, and I don’t think he’s going to be able to do so, because last year, his deep pass rate was the lowest in college football, under 7%. So those are passes over 20 yards downfield. That’s just a way to add margin for error, just consistently targeting short again and again giving defenses the opportunity to get you off the field.“

Basically, Klubnik needs to focus on being great at what he does do in the Clemson offense. He needs to perfect the art of the short pass. Even if he wants to throw more deep balls, that just doesn't fit into his game.

While throwing deep balls provides great entertainment, it is not necessary to win. Being elite at short passes that pick up consistent chunks of yardage can be just as effective.

It will be interesting to see what kind of season Klubnik is able to put together for the Tigers. Cleaning up his game, taking care of the football, and becoming elite within the Clemson offense would give the team a chance to compete at a very high level.


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Evan Massey

EVAN MASSEY