The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Swinney ‘going to evaluate everything’ in Clemson’s quarterback room

Matt Mynes, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talks on a headset during the Tigers’ loss to Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, on Nov. 5, 2022. 

For the second consecutive game, Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pulled starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei in favor of freshman Cade Klubnik. But unlike two weeks ago, Swinney didn’t reaffirm that Uiagalelei is the clear-cut starter after the loss to Notre Dame. 
Despite Swinney’s vote of confidence for Uiagalelei after the Syracuse game, the coaching staff yanked the reins of Clemson’s offense from the junior signal-caller after seven consecutive scoreless drives against the Irish. This move proved unsubstantial, as Notre Dame still outscored the Tigers by 14 points after Uiagalelei’s temporary benching.
Although he acknowledged the entire offense played poorly, Swinney didn’t commit one way or another to a starting quarterback.
“We’ll just evaluate everything,” Swinney said. “I thought DJ finished well, which was good to see. I hate that the play (interception) happened with Cade. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll just get back to work and continue to evaluate it every day. But it’s certainly not all on DJ. He made a bad play, and Cade made a bad play. There was a lot more than the quarterback out there tonight.”
At the time of his replacement, Uiagalelei had completed 13 of 19 passing attempts for 78 yards.
Down by 14 with his heels in his own end zone, Klubnik took over the offense with poor field position. After one handoff to Will Shipley, Klubnik’s first pass attempt was snatched out of the air by Notre Dame defensive back Benjamin Morrison.
The coaching staff had the first-year quarterback on a short leash, immediately replacing the former five-star recruit with Uiagalelei on the Tigers’ next drive. 
Still, Clemson had similar results in the passing department, as Uiagalelei capped off his return to the field by throwing a 96-yard pick-six by the omnipresent Morrison, giving the Tigers back-to-back turnovers.
Uiagalelei finished the night by completing 27 of 39 passes for 191 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He also added 23 yards on the ground in nine attempts.
Although this was the second consecutive game Swinney replaced him with Klubnik, Uiagalelei was adamant after the game that he could still lead the team.
“Man, it’s the same confidence I’ve had all season,” Uiagalelei said. “I ride or die with these guys on the offense. The offensive linemen, the running backs, the tight ends, my receivers… Coach Streeter, I ride or die with anyone on the offensive staff.”
On his Sunday Zoom conference call, Swinney added that Uiagalelei is “still a guy we believe in,” but whether Swinney retains him as the starter remains to be seen.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *