Napier's Notebook

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier talks about this weekend's game versus No. 16 Miami.

ACC SPEED VS. SEC SPEED: So far this week, multiple members of the Clemson coaching staff have said that Miami's defense is probably better than Auburn's.

Napier expects to see a defense in Memorial Stadium that's faster than what they saw at Jordan-Hare almost two weeks ago.

"I think, just overall, the speed, the margin of error decreases. What may be an 8-yard gain is a 6-yard gain," he said.

But it's nothing new.

"That's what Miami's known for. That's who they are. I think it showed up in the Pitt game. There was an obvious speed difference," Napier said.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE U: It takes only one look at the film for him to see talent all over the field.

Outside linebacker Sean Spence is averaging 2.17 tackles for loss per game and ranks 6th in the country. Defensive end Oliver Vernon is tied for 9th with 1.17 sacks a game.

In terms of team pass defense, Miami ranks 8th.

"There's no question. In terms of personnel, they're not hurting for anything. At every position they've got very capable players," Napier said. "In terms of measurables, in terms of speed and agility, they're very talented."

The Hurricane defense is also in year-two under the direction of Jim Lovett.

"It's obvious to me that they're in their second year with coach Lovett. There are a few more variables than there were last year," Napier said. "At the same time, I think they're pretty confident in who they are and what they do. It's a really good challenge for our players."

PROTECTING THE GOODS: Miami is second in the nation with 4.7 sacks a game.

"A lot of that has to do with they're all working together," Napier said. "They cover really well. They match patters really well and maybe the quarterback might be holding the ball a little bit longer than usual. "That front is talented enough to present some problems. That's why they're successful in those areas."

Defensive end Oliver Vernon leads the team with 3½ sacks while defensive ends Adewale Ojomo and Andrew Smith each have two.

The Hurricane pass rushers all fit the mold Napier looks for when he's out on the recruiting trail.

"It's kind of like Sears and Roebuck. Just open the catalog and pick what you want," he said. "That's kind of what they've got. They're all exactly what you'd order up if you were drafting a guy up front, I think."

Clemson's offensive line has been among the best this season in protecting the quarterback. The Tigers' front is averaging less than a sack per game (2/3)—17th best in the country.

"Our front is going to have to work together. We're going to have to do a great job communicating," Napier said.

Miami is first with 11.4 tackles for loss a game. Spence leads the team with 6½.

"Some things they do on early downs can give you some problems, on a tackles for loss standpoint," Napier said. Top Stories