Clemson enters Week 2 with a need to bounce back after a disappointing first game last week, and there are several players who will be under the spotlight.
Although they were favored by double digits, Clemson (0-1) ultimately collapsed and lost to Duke 28-7 on Monday. Between two red-zone fumbles and two blocked field goals, the Tigers killed themselves. Now, they will look to record their first win of the season.
Meanwhile, Charleston Southern is coming off a 13-10 win over North Greenville last week.
That said, here are five Clemson players to keep a close eye on when the Tigers kick off at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Cade Klubnik, Quarterback
Klubnik didn’t necessarily play bad against Duke on Monday, but he also didn’t play to the level that Clemson needs him to this season. The sophomore signal-caller completed 62.8% of his passes for 209 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also was responsible for one of the critical fumbles the team had in the red zone. Heading into Saturday, Klubnik won’t have nearly as much pressure as he did in Week 1. But, the game against Charleston Southern provides an ample opportunity to build up his confidence.
Robert Gunn III, Kicker
As the heir apparent to B.T. Potter, Robert Gunn III had a brutal first career start as the Tigers’ starting placekicker. Both of Gunn’s field goal attempts were blocked, and according to head coach Dabo Swinney, the blocked kicks were Gunn’s fault as opposed to the protection up front. Swinney added this week that he hopes Gunn will bounce back, but if not, the team may have to turn toward a different option at kicker.
Barrett Carter, Linebacker
Carter’s name caught some attention this week when he said he realized during the game against Duke that he wasn’t in game shape or physically ready. While his comments may have been overanalyzed, many fans were concerned to hear that one of the Tigers’ best defensive players wasn’t in the best possible shape for Week 1. It’ll be worth watching Carter to see how he responds in Week 2.
Adam Randall, Wide Receiver
Randall was barely utilized in Week 1. In fact, he was only targeted two times, catching one of his targets for eight yards. After a disappointing first game for the wide receivers, Clemson should look to utilize Randall more. He has some of the best physical attributes of any playmaker on the roster, so there’s no reason that he should only have two targets per game.
T.J. Parker, Defensive Lineman
Parker was one of the few standouts in the Duke game, finishing with two total tackles and two quarterback pressures. Although he’s a true freshman, Parker has already earned significant playing time at defensive end. Xavier Thomas and Justin Mascoll are the starters, but Parker has carved out a nice role for himself, and he should see even more snaps against the Buccaneers.