Clemson Football: Swinney clarifies quarterback situation

Many Clemson football fans took news that Cade Klubnik would play this season as some indication that there would perhaps be specific packages and scripts to get the true freshman from Austin, Texas into the games.

Some even leapt to the next conclusion that this meant Klubnik would eventually take over for Uiagalelei in a similar fashion that Trevor Lawrence took over for Kelly Bryant in 2018.

Not so fast, my friend.  Swinney clarified today that to him the situation is more like the one Uiagalelei was in as a freshman backing up Lawrence, not Lawrence backing up Bryant.

In other words, there was no script, Uiagalelei’s playing time depended on how the game was going, there was no predetermination or scripting.

Uiagalelei, of course, ended up starting two games, a win over Boston College and a loss on the road at Notre Dame in overtime, when Lawrence was out with COVID.

Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney clarified the plan at quarterback and compares this season to 2020 when D.J. Uiagalelei backed up Trevor Lawrence

Realistically though, this means minimal playing time for Klubnik barring an injury to Uiagalelei, because 85 of the 117 passes and 781 of 914 passing yards for Uiagalelei that season were in his two starts, leaving 32 passes and 133 yards in the games he didn’t start.  In other words, the games and situations Klubnik’s likely to get in this season lend itself to 30 to 50 passes and a couple hundred yards.

Also, that 2020 team won eight games by 24 or more points, meaning there was ample opportunity for the backups to get in and I just don’t see that happening this year with this team.  Yes, there will be blowouts, with the likely candidates coming in the first three games of the schedule.

After that?  I’m not sure how many blowouts of 24 or more points we’re going to see.

This could all change quickly though, with an injury or performance issues, but as for now the plan is full steam ahead with Uiagalelei at the helm.