Adjusting on the fly

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier discusses the latest news of what's going down at quarterback and running back.


NAPIER'S TAKE ON TAJH BOYD: Napier believes the redshirt freshman's practice and preparation progress over the last several weeks is enough to warrant playing time during the final one-third of the regular season.

He wouldn't share the details of how much Boyd will be used, when he'll play and to what extent.

"I think he's really developed," Napier said. "My comfort level with him—our staff and his teammates—the comfort level with him in the way he's progressing contributes to the fact that he's going to get to play some."

With Clemson sitting at 4-4 (2-3 in ACC), Napier said Boyd's increase in snaps is also "a product of our season."

"The exciting thing to me is the kid just keeps showing up," Napier said. "He's hungry. He's driven. He's getting more and more comfortable, and he's extremely talented."

Now, Boyd's to a point where he's available to provide "a spark" and "some energy," beginning with this weekend's game versus No. 23 N.C. State.

"Mentally, I think his grasp of protections and identifying defenses and using his tools to read coverages," Napier said. "Just overall operation of the offense and comfort level, day in, day out, just being out there and handling all the things that you've got to handle as a quarterback.

"I don't think I could have told you that after fall camp. Obviously, I couldn't have told you that after the spring game."

Ideally, Boyd would have more playing time under his belt—more than the 6 of 14 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

Too many close games have dictated otherwise.

"We've been living and dying with each play. That's the kind of year it's been," Napier said.

THOUGHTS ON KYLE PARKER: The coaching staff still believes that Parker is the best quarterback on the Tigers' roster.

"The one thing that I think is extremely important is that we make sure that everybody knows that Kyle Parker is the guy that gives us the best chance to win today," Napier said.

That's why Parker's still the starting quarterback.

And he's still the starter despite finishing 21 of 39 passing for 176 yards and two interceptions against Boston College.

"I think what we saw Saturday was a guy that was trying to freelance a little bit and play outside the parameters of the offense," Napier said. "He tried to shoulder the burden when things weren't going well, became frustrated when we didn't get points out of those red zone drives, which proved to be detrimental. We coach those guys all the time they can't do that and to play within the offense."

RUNNING BACK ROTATION: A foot injury to Andre Ellington has vaulted Roderick McDowell into contention for serious playing time behind Jamie Harper.

For now, Napier does not have a plan or targeted number of touches he expects McDowell to get this weekend.

"I think a lot of it depends on how Jamie's doing," Napier said. "A lot of it has to do with how well Rod prepares and practices this week. Rod has had, probably the last week or two, has been practicing really well, or better." Top Stories