Talking offense (part I)

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier talks about the state of affairs as Clemson prepares for No. 15 TCU.

(7:15)

What can you guys do better in the red zone?
Napier: I looked back at Saturday's game. There were four plays there in particular. Two of those possessions were late in the game and we were basically making sure we didn't have three (interceptions). There were some critical errors. We need to make better decisions. There were some mistakes made by players. Two of the plays were probably my fault. There were some bad calls on first down and got us behind the sticks. Two of those plays were just mistakes by players. Good play calls and a bad step right with a chance to make the play and just not executing very well. There were really just four plays in particular…it's a matter of guys executing and coaching better—being a little more detailed, maybe in the meetings and practice field to put our kids in better positions to be successful. That's coaching. Obviously there will be a huge emphasis on that this week.

It seemed apparent maybe after the first quarter that the defense was going to shut them down. Doesn't that have to be a factor in your play calling?
Napier: Absolutely, in particular when you're in the fringe area where you're in field goal range but you could be out of it if you make a bad decision. The pre-red (zone), I guess is the way I think of it. Your field goal kicker has done well and you're in his range and making sure that you stay in there. Our defense is playing well, we're punting the ball well, the return game is strong, it's raining, those kind of things. That impacts you. Coach (Dabo) Swinney managed the game. He would tell us let's run here and take a shot here, whatever the case maybe. It's a product of the game how all three phases fit together. It was a good team win but those four plays stand out in my mind.

How much has Richard Jackson's effectiveness and range going to influence you down the road?
Napier: It changes your thoughts about when you take a shot. As far as the field position is concerned as you cross the 50. Now you're thinking more in terms of where are we in that regard. When you get into that fringe area, that's where you have to make really good decisions. Now that Richard has established himself as a consistent, dependable guy. He's a great weapon to have. One goal we have met pretty consistently is our 100 percent red zone scoring. Our 70 percent touchdown goal in the red area has not been met. It's a positive but it's a negative at the same time…it's something we have to do a better job at.

After looking at (Kyle Parker) what did he do wrong (on Saturday) and what did he need to correct?
Napier: Early on they showed us a new pressure. Mentally, I don't think he was quite ready to process that. It made him move his feet and he threw a little bit off-balance. Not that it was a bad decision, but he didn't seem to quite sit in there and let it rip down the seam on that first ball. The thing that stood out to me is once he made a few of those mistakes, I think he managed the game a little cautious from there on out. The game was in hand, a three score game. He wasn't as courageous-I guess you could say-from that point on. That's mature, but at the same time it did impact him to some degree. He handled it. He had two big conversions late in the game and put the game in hand. I'm proud of the way he responded. It was good that he was able to make some mistakes and we won the game. I'm glad we're sitting here talking about coaching him a little bit better and not how we lost. We won the game. We've got to do a better job coaching him. I think it's very good for him and his progression to make some mistakes occasionally. You live and learn, hopefully in wins and go from there.

How much zone blitzing does TCU do?
Napier: Pretty consistent. They're a pressure team. They know what they're doing when they do it and they do a good job. Everybody does it but they have a good rhyme and reason why they do it. I don't think you're going to play many teams that don't do it…they do a good job on defense. Their guys play with great effort. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. Are kids are going to have to have a good week of preparation for Saturday.

How much do you look at this year's film when evaluating them?
Napier: Texas State is pretty competitive. They do a heck of a job…we've watched every play last year and these first two games. They do what they do. They've got a great system. They've been together for a while. The head coach is a former defensive guy. It's more of this is what we do. When we do and why we do it, we've got to that figure out.

What about Chris (Hairston)? Do you match him up on the side with Jerry Hughes?
Napier: I think the most important thing with Chris is he just gets healthy enough to play in the game. Whether he plays right or left, I don't think that's important right now. It's just a matter if he can play. Hopefully he can.

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