Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and offensive coordinator Garrett Riley addressed the media, Wednesday. Swinney briefly touched on the Tigers signing class and praised the work done by Brandon Streeter before turning the spotlight on his new coordinator.
Riley, the 2022 Broyles Award winner as the nation’s top assistant, said he didn’t know a lot about Swinney and Clemson before discussions began, but he’s gotten up to speed after spending time with the coaching staff on the recruiting trail.
Riley did know plenty about the Tigers returning quarterback, however, “I think he’s the total package. I’ve known Cade for about three years …. what’s between the ears, the way he carries himself, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that’s the magic of Cade Klubnik.”
Riley’s reputation was built on the success of his Air Raid passing attack. After all, Riley is a part of the late Mike Leach’s coaching tree and credits Leach as one of his biggest influences. But Swinney was quick to point out that Riley’s offense also produced a 1,400-yard rusher in 2022 and expects more of the same at Clemson.
Riley defines his offensive philosophy by mindset, not play selection. “We want to be violent and fast. Whether it’s the running game or the passing game, we want to attack. I’m not a coach that has a certain pride in ‘we’re going to run this just because I love it,’ we’re going to figure out what our guys can do and what’s going to make us the best offense.” Riley continued, “It’s going to be totally adaptive to what our guys can handle and what we feel like is going to give us the best chance to win.”
Riley said he’s looking forward to working with the Tigers running backs, mentioning Will Shipley and Phil Mafah by name. But even casual observers of Clemson’s 2022 offense know the downfield pass attack left much to be desired. Swinney would agree. When pressed on where the Tigers need the most improvement, Swinney said, “We’ve got to get better passing the ball, period. We have a good foundation running the football, but Garrett (Riley) will help us throwing and catching …. We’ve got to get back to who we’ve been around here for 10 or 12 years.”