Is it as simple as saying, as far as developing on offense, that you've developed more with the tight end being more involved with the passing game?
Napier: Personally, when you're sitting here trying to put together a plan, you feel like who you think can be more productive for you. What's the best way to produce first downs and score points? Who do you have that you can count on? We kind of narrowed down who was playing and who we felt like could be those guys and structure the plan around those guys. Then again, the other thing is the message of execution, details, preparation--getting the most out of everyday during the week. Understanding that you screwed up on Saturday because you weren't focused on Monday, you went out there on Wednesday and had a very average day and weren't focused. Then the same mistakes showed up on Saturday. It's not only players, but we're talking coaches as well."
Have you simplified your playbook at all in the last couple of weeks?
Napier: As a matter of fact, I think we've carried more offense. It's one of the things I feel may have helped us, as we've been capable in keeping teams off balance by having enough ideas and new things. We've thrown the ball a bit more. It's our quarterback is living and learning. We're getting to where we trust him enough to make some decisions that factor into the game. We've been able to throw the ball more. That's where we've seen the tight end and running back's touches increase.
If Michael Palmer can't go this week, would Durrell Berry be the next guy in line to get the playing time?
Napier: Yes. Durrell has done a great job in the plays he played against Wake Forest and had a role when Mike went down the other night. One of the great things Durrell has done really well is he's had a great attitude. He's been a really good practice player. When he's had his opportunities in the game, he's done really well. Durrell is a guy who can be a leader. I think he's respected and who's a guy is capable of being a vocal guy. He's a senior and he's going to be a captain for our team this weekend. We'll need Durrell to step up this weekend, if Mike can't go.
Do you feel that you've made strides in short yardage?
Napier: We do. We executed those plays fairly well. We were fortunate that we didn't get called for a false start on the fourth and one. We executed those plays really well. We ran behind our best people and our best lead blocker. Jamie Harper ran the ball with the mentality that he knew the down and distance and he was going to get the first down. We changed some things in our practice structure that I think have reflected in the games. We're doing short yardage and goal line on Tuesday now in full gear. I think that's helped us, not only practicing it in a more realistic environment, but we feel like it has helped our kids when we get to the game. It's about preparation and learning your less, to a degree.
It seems like you've incorporated Chad Diehl more the past few weeks.
Napier: Right. I'm a firm believer in Chad Diehl. He's very deserving and a very worthy player. I think his role can increase even more than it has been. He's a guy of the future. We're about to lose three guys that are playing at that position this year. His role here at Clemson is going to greatly increase as time goes. We're doing some things conceptually where we're trying to get our best guys in position to do what they do best.
Can he be an on the line tight end?
Napier: He can block on the line of scrimmage. His best is being a lead blocker. That's kind of what we're trying to do with him. In practice time, as he develops, I think he can do that.
How do you feel the blocking on the outside with the receivers has come along?
Napier: We felt like that was a way we could create big plays. We felt like that was an area where we could get over the hump and create more explosive plays--our effort on the second level. We put a huge emphasis on that during the open date. There's no question that it's showed up on a couple of C.J.'s (Spiller) big runs. Xavier Dye, Terrance Ashe, Jacoby Ford--those guys in particular have made some critical blocks that have popped some of those long runs that you've seen the past couple of weeks.
Can you take us back to the 15-second sequence on the head sets at the end of regulation when you were trying to get Kyle (Parker) up there to the line?
Napier: We lost about eight or nine seconds there. We ran the ball trying to catch them in a split safety defense and it worked--hit it for about nine yards. There was some uncertainty whether or not we got the first down. We were going to clock the ball and didn't have any sense of urgency from our players. Kyle, in particular, never even looked to the sideline after he handed the ball off. We're up there about to rip our headsets off. We had to waste our time out and then go out and kick it…our quarterback, he was just watching the play. That's just living and learning: awareness. It was very frustrating but he got the job done. The field goal got kicked from about the same spot if we (got another play).
Would you have taken a shot at the end zone?
Napier: I don't know. We had a play in mind that we were going to try. Personally, after throwing an interception down there, I would have probably just moved it to the middle and kicked the field goal. Just depends on how well we felt about it. If you do take a shot, there's potential for an interception or a sack. You've got a lot of things going on there. We did that before. I think we did the right thing, especially given the fact that we had to burn a timeout.
Talking offense with Billy Napier
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