Talking offense with Billy Napier

CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier previews Clemson's matchup with Florida State.

This looks like a defense that looks like it will give you an opportunity to do some things.
Napier: I think, obviously they've had some injuries and they've had some younger players, but at the same time, they're still Florida State. They're still very capable of playing some good defense. Athletically, a lot of the guys that we've recruited in the past are playing for them. In particular, the injuries to Budd Thacker and Dekoda Watson were a set back for them, from a leadership standpoint. But, I think those guys will be back this week. I think they'll play. They'll be ready to go.

Coach (Mickey) Andrews is a heck of a football coach. When they've needed stops, they've made stops to win here, as of late. In particular, late in the game against North Carolina, they've played better defense. Statistically, they have given up some yards and some points. All of that is good to look at on paper. Saturday night they'll be a good football team on the sideline. Our guys will have to be prepared to play. I hope that our guys will continue to prepare the way they did (Monday) night today. The quality of their play will be a product of their work throughout the week, this week.

When you look back to last year's game, how much during the offseason did you think, ‘Man, if Chris Hairston would have just stayed healthy, we might have had a chance there.'?
Napier: We started fast. Then we had some trouble protecting after that. With Chris going down, we had four sacks after that. That impacted the down and distance. They were able to get some key stop on some third downs. That was then, this is now. It's all irrelevant. It's up to which team plays the best on Saturday. Our guys have to get prepared. We've got to get the little things right. We've got to make sure our attitude and focus is getting the exact details from what we're trying to do in our plan standpoint right.

Talk about Kyle Parker becoming more accountable and putting the work in to improve in a number of areas: Is there a play of late that sticks out to you, where he made a throw or made a read that he wouldn't have made earlier this year?
Napier: In the Coastal game, we had an illegal motion take place. He was knowledgeable and savvy enough to get those guys back set. He pointed at the back to go in motion. We had a similar play where Jacoby motioned, and he motioned. We had two guys move at the same time. He had enough poise to tell Jacoby to stop, and then let the back get set, and then snap the ball so we didn't get the illegal motion. I thought that was a really good thing. It's one of those things you maybe cover once or twice. He remembered and had enough football knowledge, IQ to realize what he could do to fix that problem. That was good to see.

What can some of your young wide outs take from what they did against Coastal? Guys like Jaron that had some success?
Napier: It's good for their confidence. They're obviously really good players coming in here. For some of them, maybe it was their first time to make a play at the college level. It's kind of a reminder that, you were a really good player when you came here. It's a confidence issue more than anything.

How much of a problem--the way they rotate guys in and out up front--can that be for you guys?
Napier: It's like any good defensive team, athletically, that has recruited well. They've got some depth up front--they can play a lot of guys. It's like if we were playing against our defense that would be an issue. Miami, for example, plays a lot of guys up front. Every week you're not going to just play the same two ends and the same two tackles. You're going to play a combination of eight to 10 guys a game. You've got to get to know those guys through film study…players are different guys. Everett Dawkins is a different player than Budd Thacker is. What are they good at? What is their trademark pass rush moves? What are their strengths and weakness? It's those kinds of things. That's part of preparation during the week. A team that has more good players is harder to play. That'll be huge this week, no question, being really familiar with those guys.

Have you noticed Mickey (Andrews) trying to find some things that work?
Napier: They've always played a little bit of zone coverage to compliment their man. More than anything, I think he's been trying to do things to create pressure. Obviously, the injuries have caused some problems for them…he's a good football coach. He's in that battle that we're in, week in and week out, trying to be successful, give your kids a chance to compete and create an advantage. I think he's just doing his job. He's a heck of a coach and been around a long time. These are probably all things he's done over the years.

Considering the productivity of Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper this past week, is there a need to keep it in context?
Napier: I wouldn't get too carried away. I think that it's great to see those guys go out there and be affective. The quality of competition has a lot to do with how successful you are. It's good to see Andre. I thought he played really well. He showed the ability to be an explosive guy and then ran physical when given the opportunity. He created some yards after contact and finished runs--that was really good to see. The more times they get out there and play, it's real to them, and they have some things they can really work on. It's just gaining that experience getting a chance to go play.

You talked about getting ahead of the chains, has that been the biggest key to success?
Napier: It's just overall consistency, execution, having 11 guys do their job. That's been probably the most significant thing. As the quarterback has grown up, we've been able to throw the ball a little bit more, allow him to make decisions. The trust factor has gone up a lot as he's gone out there and gotten his feet wet. He's playing better. That allows you to be a little bit more balanced. I think some guys have stepped up and made some plays for us. That's the name of the game, guys have to make plays. It's our job to give them an opportunity. They've got to go execute and make plays. We've had some guys do that. That's one of the reasons we've been somewhat successful. We've still got a long way to go though.

Can you get into that zone as a play caller, where things are feeling like it's coming easier to you?
Napier: A lot of it has to do with your plan throughout the week. If you've got a really good handle on them defensively and everything is pretty calculated, that's where you feel like you're in that chess match. When you're not as prepared, that's when it's not like that as much. It's one of those deals, you're not thinking about anything else. You're extremely into the game. Top Stories