Napier discusses quarterbacks

CLEMSON — When Billy Napier looks at his three quarterbacks, he sees good things in all of them. But like any good coach will tell you, he sees things they all need to work on as well.

In Willy Korn he is probably seeing the accuracy, touch and leadership that made him one of the top prospects in the country coming out of high school two years ago, but he probably also sees a little trouble in his delivery and arm strength which is still recovering after going through surgery last December.

In Kyle Parker he probably sees an arm that can throw a ball through a brick wall if he wants to, but he has probably noticed the inaccuracy at times and his inability to show a consistent touch.

Then there is Michael Wade. A redshirt junior who has made perhaps the biggest strides, but most of his work has come against the third string defense. Is he capable of doing it on a consistent level against the best defenses?

"It doesn't matter if I had a third-year starter that was an all-conference, all-American player. That guy would not have it completely figured out," said Napier, who was a star quarterback himself at Furman. "That is a position where there is always room for improvement. If you have the right kind of guy and recruited the right kind of intangibles, then that guy always realizes that and is always working."

And it seems that is the kind of quarterback Napier has in Korn, Parker and Wade. All three guys work extremely hard and all three want to be the guy that leads Clemson onto the field this fall.

"We have those kinds of guys and I'm really enjoying coaching these three quarterbacks," he said. "I'm extremely excited about each guy and the things that they do well, but they all have little things that they need to improve on in certain areas and they will continue to do that."

The guy that has the most work is Korn, who just got back to full strength before the start of spring practice. The redshirt sophomore, however, developed some bad throwing habits after having surgery to repair a torn labrum and broken collarbone.

Korn's delivery was like that of baseball pitcher's to start the spring. He has since improved it somewhat, but there is still plenty to do there.

"We have speeded it up some, but he still has work to do and that's what the summer will be about," Napier said. "Obviously, the injury set him back quite a bit and it's a muscle memory from that. I think he developed some bad habits when he was injured, especially the collarbone injury.

"That was a setback for him, but I think there is some things that we have done that can speed him up without him thinking about it, but it is just a matter of him really grinding it out this summer with a lot of repetitions with the correct delivery. We will go from there and see what he looks like when he shows up for fall camp."

The most encouraging sign for Napier this spring is when he sees Korn zip a pass without thinking about his throwing motion. Napier says that's a sign that he is forgetting about it and is just concentrating on playing football.

"The thing we all have to understand is that kid has had two major surgeries since he has been here," the quarterbacks coach said. "He broke his collarbone and then he tore his labrum. Those are two pretty drastic deals. The good thing about the deal is that he has got some of his zip back.

"Mechanically, we have some work to do, but he has improved. When he doesn't think about it, he gets it out of his hands quick sometimes and I think it is something we can instill in him this summer."

What's also instilled in Korn's mind is the fact Parker and Wade are not going anywhere and they will be pushing him all summer.

"The best thing we have at that position is we have a lot of competition," Napier said. "We have two other guys that are competing and have done well at times too. That will kind of force him to get things in order and get ready for fall camp."

And that makes Napier feel good as his quarterbacks get ready to enter the summer.

"I feel really good because I think we will have a good player at that position," he said. "I think all three of the guys improved and I think their knowledge improved. Mentally, they are further ahead than they were and that is a product of the meetings and the experiences they have had on the practice fields and in the scrimmage situations.

"We made strides and we still have a lot of work to do. I'm going to work around the clock as soon as this spring game is over to prepare them for our installation for preseason and organize our summer program for these guys."

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