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Klubnik previews 2023 season, why this year’s team is different

Matt Mynes
Clemson quarterback Cade Klubnik participates in a rainy practice on Aug. 10, 2023.

Nearly eight months ago, Cade Klubnik had just walked off the field after a crushing 31-14 loss to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. Now, he is ready to lead the Tigers back to the top of the mountain.

Speaking to the media on Monday, Klubnik previewed the 2023 season and what he has seen from himself and the team throughout fall camp. 

With just one career start under his belt, Klubnik doesn’t have the snaps that a seasoned veteran would. But that lack of experience isn’t stopping the Texas native from confidently leading the team. 

“I feel like I’ve always been a natural leader and (been) able to command the team and push guys where they’ve never been before,” Klubnik said. “It’s been incredible. It’s been a huge honor but just so fun. I feel like I’m just kind of me out there playing again. Just a high-energy guy with lots of confidence who just loves the game.”

With less than two weeks before the Tigers take on Duke in the season opener on Sept. 4, Klubnik said the whole team has a different mindset this year compared to last. 

“I think we have an energy and a joy for the game that I haven’t seen since I’ve been here,” Klubnik said. “I think our love for each other, just the mindset we have going into this year, is just incredible.”

Along with a new energy and mindset, Klubnik and the Tigers’ offense have a new coordinator calling the plays this season in Garrett Riley. Klubnik said that Riley has created “a player-friendly offense” putting players in the best possible positions to succeed. 

“The confidence he brings is infectious,” Klubnik said of Riley.

Klubnik added that over the course of fall camp, the offense has developed an ability to bounce back and not let any mistake derail the rest of a drive or scrimmage. 

Klubnik’s teammates have also seen the potential of the former five-star recruit. 

“We’ve got the best quarterback in the conference,” safety R.J. Mickens said of Klubnik on Monday. “I’ve played against all of them, and Cade is definitely the best.”

Starting in just one game in 2022, Klubnik finished his true freshman season completing 61.0% of his passes for 697 yards, while throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also rushed for two scores.

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Justin Robertson
Justin Robertson, Associate Editor
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