Talking offense

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier discusses Saturday's game at No. 10 Miami.

Opening comments
Napier: Our guys will be ready to go. They're starting to figure this thing out. Their preparation during the week is critical in them playing well. I think you're seeing that. This is a pretty young group to some degree in certain positions. That's coming together. Our guys will be ready to go. I think practice was ready good yesterday. It's amazing what a good win will do for your morale. We'll have to remind them early to not forget how average you were when you weren't focused and preparing the right way. We just have to keep our thumb on them. We'll keep our energy and intensity high. Our attention to detail high—that starts when they get here today for the meetings.

In listening to you the other day, the pivotal person in the process sounded if it was Kyle (Parker) himself.
Napier: Right. He's a red-shirt freshman. One of the things that comes to my mind when I sit back and try to evaluate him as a player is, not only is he a first year starter, but he's also a guy who has never really observed a guy prepare to play. He hasn't had a couple of years to watch the starter go about his preparation throughout the week. It's really a new thing being a player and a completely new thing in preparation. We're trying to teach him. He's living and learning through trial and error how to have a good week of preparation from a meeting standpoint, from extra film study standpoint and a practice standpoint. I think we did a better job coaching as a staff, managing our time, maybe doing a few things differently from a staff standpoint. It freed me up to do my job better in coaching the quarterbacks. It's a combination of things, but the most critical thing has been him figuring things out a little bit better each week on what it takes to be productive.

Could you expand on how this past game how (being on schedule) was reflected and how it allowed you to be more comfortable?
Napier: From a down and distance standpoint, if you have what we call a successful play—anything more than four yards on first down. Our goal is to be 55 percent efficient four yards or better. Defensively, their approach changes when they've got you behind the sticks, at anything seven or more. We have to get ourselves in manageable third down situations and they're trying to keep you in third and long. When it's second and (one through six) and throwing on the run at them and keeping third down manageable or you can still gamble. You can do a lot of things. The success rate on third down is a lot better when it's six or less than it is when it's seven or more. When it's second and six, or better, you can afford to get a zero on that down…it allows you to be unpredictable. That was a good thing on Saturday…Second and long is a 10-12 play call a game, national average. We've been around 14 the first five games, two or three more than you like. Saturday, that went way down.

How important will communication be on Saturday?
Napier: When you're playing on the road those are some things we have to get prepared for and deal with. We'll do some things differently in practice today to get prepared for that. As we go, the main thing is, now (Parker) has been there and experienced that.

Do you think there's much opportunity to run the ball inside on Miami? Or are you going to have to pick and chose?
Napier: I think that each week when you have a back like C.J. Spiller you're looking at every angle to try and get him touches and get him the opportunity to be productive as a running back. These guys are really good on defense. We're just going to have to be smart about how we get the running game going. Inside, outside, all of that is the game within the game. We try to run it each week. We try to make a legitimate effort to run it. Each plan starts with that because of the guy we have at running back.

You guys had great success preparing for Wake Forest with the off week. How do you create that on offense with a normal week to prepare.
Napier: That's the true challenge. In my mind, that's the question that I'm making sure each day we're always, from a preparation standpoint—not only as coaches, but what do our players know? What do they know about Miami? How well do they really know what we're trying to do in a short, normal week? Hopefully, our meetings and practice reflect the sense of urgency and the detail we'll need to win the game. There's no question that every minute counts from that standpoint.

How long had the play where Jacoby (Ford) threw the ball been in the playbook?
Napier: I think we put that in after the Georgia Tech game. I think we had it in the BC plan but it was raining. The TCU defense did some things schematically where it wouldn't fit—the same thing with Maryland. We had run it every Thursday for the first couple of weeks. It matched up and it ended up being a good play. It was a compliment to a running play that we ran against Georgia Tech four times, in that same formation and motion. That's where that came from.

Do you see any of (John) Lovett's finger prints on what they do defensively?
Napier: I do. Some of the stuff they do is a reflection of, not only what he did here, but we he learned at North Carolina when he was with Butch (Davis). Obviously, working with Coach (Randy) Shannon—he's very involved with the defense. There's a blue print they kind of pull from there. I think it's a combination of all those things that were all products of who he worked for and when.

What are some of his blue prints?
Napier: John never believed in being too overly complicated…he didn't want his players to be confused. It's relatively simple. In most places he's been that's what it has been like. Most good defenses are that way.


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