THE NEW SCHEME AT TECH: First-year defensive coordinator Al Groh has implemented his 3-4 base defense, which he brought to Atlanta from his stay in Charlottesville as Virginia's head coach.
Napier said Groh's adapted to what was available at Georgia Tech.
"I think they're getting a lot out of what they've got, in terms of them adapting," Napier said. "They've improved a little bit every week."
The major strides will be made out on the recruiting trail.
"He knows what he's looking for," Napier said of Groh. "The more time he spends in that program, from a recruiting standpoint, he'll acquire what he needs and what he feels like are the best types of players for his system."
There's plenty of carryover in philosophy from Virginia to Georgia Tech.
"He's going to have some wrinkles here or there each week. For the most part, they're really sound in what they do and confident about what they want to do," Napier said.
So far this season Georgia Tech ranks 45th in the country in total defense, 55th in scoring defense, 42nd against the pass and 65th against the run.
THE PASSING GAME: For the first half of the season, it's been a struggle for Clemson to consistently pick up yards through the air. The Tigers are 89th in the country, averaging 180 yards passing per game.
"We've got to cut it loose," Napier said. "We're going to try to be balanced. We're going to try to get the balls to the guys we feel confident about. We're not going to sit back. We're going to go attack people.
"I think getting [DeAndre Hopkins] back is going to help us. Jaron Brown's emergence is going to help us. Obviously, Dwayne Allen showed that he's capable. He's been inconsistent, but he knows that. He's still a young player. We've got a lot of young players in the skill positions. A lot of these guys are just now getting comfortable."
It's been the line that's afforded the passing game to be "halfway effective." Last week was a different story.
"That was part of our issue," Napier said. "We've got work to do."
STRONGER, MORE EFFICIENT ON FIRST-DOWN: During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Dabo Swinney said he would like to see the offense improve its first-down production from Saturday's 31-7 win over Maryland.
Napier said 22 yards rushing were lost from "not great communication" along the offensive line.
"The first thing is, we had more negative runs than we've had in recent weeks—more tackles for loss," he said. "I think our kids realized the value of staying ahead of the sticks and winning first-down after a game like Saturday."
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