Clemson football: The Elephant in the room

I’ve written enough (and posted enough highlights on social media) about Clemson football this summer to realize that there’s a significant portion of the Clemson fan base that believes Cade Klubnik should start at quarterback against Georgia Tech on September 5.

I can post a highlight of a beautiful pass from DJ Uiagalelei and the comments will flow and claim “it was the only one all year”, or something similar. Problem is that happens multiple times with different highlights. I’m here to tell you Uiagalelei had more than one good pass in 2021.

We all know DJ had a subpar season, but much like good performances are often exaggerated to legendary status, so are bad ones in reverse.

Dabo was adamant that DJ was his starter post-spring practice and I believe him. Barring something unusual DJ will trot out with the offense in Atlanta.

But I also concur with the take below.

Things change when the games start and that’s the thing I love (and hate) about college football. If one loss does not wreck your season, two certainly will.

Theoretically, Clemson’s early season schedule sets up well for the quarterback (s) to get their feet under themselves to start the season and despite the four letter difference in their names there’s a world of difference between Georgia and Georgia Tech.

To some extent DJ Uiagalelei was a victim of the team around him, but he also did not elevate the team in the way previous quarterbacks at Clemson have and the Tigers need that with the makeup of their team.

I did not vote in the poll above, but if I did my answer would likely be something other than 0. I’m a “see it on the field” kind of guy and while DJ had more than one good pass last season and was a victim of the team around him to an extent, he did not elevate that team as previous superstar quarterbacks have.

Here’s the part where I tell you I live in the Austin, Texas area and have spent the last two years watching Klubnik destroy the competition in Texas High School football’s highest level.

He’d be the first to tell you and it should be obvious, but Klubnik did all that with an elite team around him. Yes, he elevated them when needed, but routine blocks were made, spectacular catches were the norm and the defense routinely set the offense up in a great position.

Many of his teammates are headed to college to play football (or will be). It was not one man show.

My point is, no matter who the quarterback is the rest of the team needs to play better, too.

But there’s no escaping the guy that handles the ball on every play is going to get the blame or the glory, that’s just the way it is.

Clemson’s win model requires elite play from the quarterback position and that did not happen in 2021.

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