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‘The sky’s the limit for what we can do’: Uiagalelei speaks on Clemson offense

Aralynn Minnick, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (5) takes a run against Furman on Sept. 10, 2022 at Memorial Stadium. 

Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei believes last week’s offensive performance is just the beginning for this Clemson team.
After struggling for much of the 2021 season, Uiagalelei is solely focusing on improving each game and finding ways to put the Tiger offense in positions to succeed.
The 6-foot-4, 235 pound signal-caller set a new career-high in passer rating (179.7) last week and believes Clemson’s offensive outburst against Wake Forest was because of a complete performance from each part of the offense.
“I feel like we did a really good job of growing in the right direction,” said Uiagalelei. “Put up a lot of yards on offense, ran the ball well, and had a lot of time in the pocket.” 
Despite the career day, Uiagalelei has put the performance behind him and is focusing on how the entire offense can improve ahead of a marquee matchup with No. 10 NC State on Saturday.
“My biggest thing is just to learn to get better and be able to grow from last week,” Uiagalelei said. “I did a lot of stuff well last week, but a lot of that stuff doesn’t carry over. It’s a new week, and I got to be able to go out there and produce it right again and even do better.”
As the season has progressed, the junior sees the improvements the offense is making on a week-to-week basis.
“I feel like as an offense, we keep getting better each and every game,” Uiagalelei said. “I think the sky’s the limit for what we can do.”
In the past two games, Clemson has recorded over 500 total yards in each outing — alluding to the offense’s progression since last year.
Uiagalelei also attributes the team’s confidence to proper preparation during the week.
“I think the confidence grows from practice and our preparation,” Uiagalelei added. “The biggest thing we’ve been doing a good job of is preparation and practice each and every day.”
The offensive line play is another point Uiagalelei attributes to offensive success.
“For me, this offensive line I have no worry at all about,” Uiagalelei said. “Whatever the defense is doing, I have my eyes always downfield. I have no worries just being able to feel the pocket, being able to move left, right, up and down.”
Another reason the Clemson offense has been improving compared to a season ago is its play on third downs.
In the 2021 season, Clemson converted on third downs only 37.1% of the time. This year, the Tigers are converting third downs at a 54.69% rate.
“I think coach (Brandon) Streeter’s done an amazing job on third down,” Uiagalelei said. “I feel like third down, that’s a down where you got to go out there and get it. I feel like it’s a down you got to have the want to be able to go out there and execute.”
With a tough stretch of games to play, Uiagalelei and the Clemson offense will have to keep improving week-to-week and build off its confidence and momentum moving forward.

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