Napier's Notebook

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier discusses the early struggles at wide receiver and the new look to the running back duo of Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper.

GROWING THE ROTATION: Napier admitted the struggles at wide receiver can be attributed to the lack of continuity at the position. He added that it was "a factor" that Kyle Parker spent the majority of the summer playing baseball.

Napier's comfortable with the current first-team rotation of DeAndre Hopkins, Jaron Brown, Marquan Jones and Bryce McNeal.

"As we go forward, we'll keep it zeroed in there. I think we'll improve. There's no question we'll get better," Napier said.

As early as preseason camp, there were questions surrounding the veterans, while coaches continue to paint positive outlooks for the younger players.

When asked why it took so long to get reach the current starting group, Napier used freshman DeAndre Hopkins as an example.

"The ability was there, but you've got to get where you can function. Same thing with C.J. Spiller when he was a freshman here," Napier said. "Everybody was like, ‘Wow, this guy's going to be unbelievable.' It takes some time to get adapted. I think, more than anything, when you're asking a true freshman to play, at any position, it's a challenge...I wish I had some magic dust that could have sped that up."

NUKE TAKING CONTROL: Hopkins now leads all Clemson wide receivers with 13 receptions for 115 yards a touchdown. He's behind only Dwayne Allen in catches.

DeAndre Hopkins now leads all Clemson wide receivers with 13 receptions for 115 yards a touchdown. (Roy Philpott)
It was a career day at North Carolina with seven receptions for 46 yards that has him poised to start the rest of the season.

"I think he's a kid who's got a ton of ability, in terms of his ball skills, his quickness, his ability to make a catch in traffic, his ability to go up and get a ball," Napier said. "He's just a true freshman, so he's only going to get better.

"I think Kyle has a lot of confidence in him. I think our players have a lot of confidence in him. The more he can continue to be productive, the more respect he's going to earn."

Hopkins' ability to bounce back could help build that respect, too. He dropped a would-be first-down pass on a slant route in the third quarter of Saturday's loss. But two drives later, Parker went to Hopkins again over the middle for a 13-yard catch. Hopkins absorbed a big-hit, but held onto the ball.

"That tells you the kid's played some ball. He can handle adversity and be resilient during the game," Napier said.

YOU DA MAN, ANDRE: Napier confirmed that Ellington has earned the right to get the majority of the carries.

Napier didn't say whether or not he aims to get Ellington a certain number of touches per game.

"I'm comfortable with as many as he can handle, in my opinion," Napier said.

Ellington and Jamie Harper have alternated starts on each series through the first five games of the season. Napier said Ellington will be starting more series in the future. Top Stories