Spring Practice 2024: Clemson Football Offensive Stars Excited to be Back on the Field

Clemson football expects big things from its offense in the second season under offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. Two of those stars took to the podium during player media availability on Tuesday morning to discuss the start of spring practice and the expectations surrounding the 2024 Tigers.

Quarterback Cade Klubnik and projected starting center Ryan Linthicum discussed the mindset for Clemson football as preparation for the season begins to ramp up.

One newcomer who has immediately stood out to Klubnik is freshman wide receiver Bryant Wesco. More than that, Cade is happy to have a deep, and healthy, cast of receivers around him after two seasons of major attrition at the position.

“Yeah, been really proud of him,” said Klubnik regarding Wesco. “Since he’s gotten here, he’s just been working. Not a high ego guy at all. Just a guy that comes to work every single day and just really proud of him. But he’s smooth, just fluid. That’s the best way I can think of it. Just fluid, has really good ball in the air skills and just really good at tracking it and great separation. He’s going to be a really good player for us.”

Wesco is turning heads, but there are veterans and other receivers with lots of experience on the roster. Rising junior Antonio Williams, who missed most of the 2023 season due to injury, returns and is finally healthy. Adam Randall, who has battled injuries and inconsistency, is looking like he could be a dynamic playmaker. Sophomore Tyler Brown, who burst onto the scene last year, could take the next step in his progression as a player, and Cole Turner and Troy Stellato are in the mix to make an impact as well.

“It’s really fun,” Klubnik added. “It’s really, really fun. You step up there, and you got some dudes around you. Some freaking dudes. That’s exciting. It’s exciting for me, obviously, because I have matchups everywhere and that’s what I’m looking for.”

Linthicum is projected to take over the starting spot at center for the departed Will Putnam, and says he is ready to take the lead on an offensive line that returns four starters. He credits being the understudy to Putnam for helping his development as he patiently waited his turn.

“I learned a lot under (Putnam) the last three years I’ve been here, man,” said Linthicum. “God has blessed me with this opportunity and I just have to out and take advantage of it. Coach (Matt) Luke, I’ve learned so much from him already.”

In the age of the transfer portal, not many players stick around for two years waiting on a starting role, but Ryan has done that and had no problems learning and growing as a player until his number was called.

“It’s God’s plan,” said. “And God’s plan for me to know that my opportunity is here. I look at it as I have really grown as a man and I really wasn’t ready. (Playing behind) some of those older guys, Putnam, Jordan McFadden, I think molded me and made me ready for the opportunity I have right now.”

Klubnik looks back on last season and how he has progressed as a quarterback. Hindsight being a great teacher, he sees where he was and knows where he wants to be.

“I think there’s a lot of things that I’ve kind of looked back on this last season and re-evaluated myself,” he said. “I think one of the biggest things is post snap recognition, so second year in an offense, I haven’t really had that yet. To look back on things I learned from last year and all my notes I took last year, and actually incorporate those this year, I think my post snap recognition is going to get better with just decision making, when to come off of stuff, when I can truly attack things stronger, stuff like that.”

He added, “Being more aggressive with my decisions because I’ve been in the system now for a little bit. So, I think that’s going to be huge for me. “

The weapons are there for Cade to be successful. Along with a strong wide receiver unit, Jake Briningstool, Josh Sapp, and Olsen Patt-Henry at tight end, and running back Phil Mafah, the Tigers are set up to be explosive on the offensive side of the ball.

And with a cohesive offensive line to tie it all together, Clemson football is hopeful they can return to the nation’s upper echelon on that side of the football.

In terms of what he wants to accomplish this spring, Linthicum wants to continue to grow within himself as a player and in his understanding of the game.

“Just increasing my smarts in the game,” he stated. “I think as a center you can only get smarter and learn the defense better, learn the offense better, learn what the guy next to you is doing. Learning more of the offense. I can always get better in that which makes everyone around me better if we all increase our knowledge of the game.”

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