When you look at Parker's touchdown throw to Jacoby and his throw to Dye against Virginia, as a coach and former quarterback, what goes through your mind?
Napier: The guy has a lot of ability. It's like some of those run C.J. makes. Coach Powell and I joke around that we've got a drill for that. The guys go out there and compete and play the game. It's one of those deals where I just took my headset off and said, ‘Man--wow.' That's just a guy making a football play. You see it every Sunday--guys making plays they're not supposed to make. That was another good example of Kyle and the talent he has and the capability he has of making us an explosive offense.
Where's the biggest area Parker can grow?
Napier: I think he's three or four plays the other day from being lights out. I think he can just continue to be a good decision maker and being really consistent, disciplined and business-like in his preparation. The variables change each week. It's a different subject and different test on Saturday each week from a defensive standpoint. Each coordinator, each team and each team's personnel presents a different set of questions and opportunities to make good decisions versus bad decisions. The thing, for not only him as a quarterback, but for each player on this team and the staff is to understand that. What you did last week has absolutely nothing to do with how you're going to play this week. You have to prepare for this test. The questions that were on the last test are not on this test. Sure, you had a great week of preparation last week. You were very sharp, prepared, detailed in your approach and effort, but if you relax and become complacent--that's our nature as human beings, to relax when things go well. If we can remain focused and understand that it starts over each week, I think you can go out there and be special each week.
What questions does an Ellis Johnson defense make you answer?
Napier: South Carolina is very athletic. They present a number of problems schematically. Ellis does a great job. He has wrinkles that he brings about each week that present problems to what you do. Within the grand scheme of things, you prepare for what he's done and expect to have to make some adjustments within the game. Obviously, Ellis has been doing this a lot longer than I have. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I played against some of his teams when he was the head coach at The Citadel when I was a player. He had The Citadel headed in the right direction. They were doing really well when he was there. I think Ellis is a heck of a football coach. The main thing is to try to put our players in the best position possible to be successful--let them play the game and give our playmakers the opportunity to win and compete.
How does Norwood compare to the elite individuals that you've seen on other defenses?
Napier: Norwood is a very extinctive player. He's a guy, I would guess, has a pretty high football IQ. He's a guy who sees things and probably watches a lot of tape. He's probably a guy who understands formation recognition and what goes within each personnel group in the formation and motion and where the backs sit--all those things. I think he's probably a student of the game that when it gets game time, he's done his job from a preparation standpoint. He makes some of those plays that looks like he's clued in on what's going on. They do a really good job of moving him around and putting him in position to be a playmaker. He's an experienced player, played a lot of snaps. He's right up there with the best of them.
Does their defensive line remind you of any other you've seen this year?
Napier: Each week is different to compare a group to another group, to be fair. These guys are talented. Their big, athletic, well-coached--they've obviously had some injuries throughout the year that's presented some depth problems for them. They've had a good open date and I think they'll be healthy and ready to go. We'll see the full, two-deep. Obviously, they'll present challenges. We study each individual player. We've seen several teams that cause problems for us.
What gave y'all confidence in last year's game plan?
Napier: I don't know if went into the game feeling like we could do that. I think we went into the game, thinking we had two of the better running backs in the country. Within the big picture, there were the conditions last year. As the game goes, once you find that you're capable rushing the ball, obviously it's the easiest way to not make a mistake on offense. That's to hand the ball off to one of the better running backs in the country. I think that was part of the deal as the game progressed. We got into the situation where we were ahead. That changes the way you go about your business. I think it was a product of the game, more than anything.
Did that include the use of Diehl during the game? Or had you planned to use him?
Napier: I've always been a huge fan of Chad Diehl. I've felt like he's a guy we need to use. He's a guy who presents problems to the defense. You've got do things to compliment him when he's in the game. At that point in the season, he'd played seven, eight snaps a game. You throw him out there, there's no tendency or any worry about whatever the case may be. I think he's one of our best football players. We've got to get him out there to make our team better, to make our team have a chance to win. It's no different this year, obviously. We're trying to give him a role on the team. He's done well.
If this is Parker after 10 starts, what might a Parker after 25-30 starts look like?
Napier: It depends on how well he prepared that week.
Are they moving Norwood around more?
Napier: I think the last three weeks in particular, you've seen some things, for the most part, it's very similar to kind of how they went about their business last year throughout the season. The depth problems they have in the front caused them to be a little bit different than the past. Ellis does a good job. Each week, he's coming up with his plan. We'll have to prepare for everything. That's one of the negatives for the end of the year. You've got a whole season of tape, what do you really prepare for? What new wrinkle will they have? That's the thing you deal with at this time each year. Obviously, they do a good job with Norwood, moving him around, putting him in position to be a playmaker.
What do you attribute scoring at least 34 points six straight weeks beyond selling the right message in practice?
Napier: I think we've got guys that are buying in and playing consistent football. We're executing. Offensive coaches are doing a great job of putting together a great plan and preparing their players on the practice field. We have some good leadership amongst our team. They know we're very capable if we can put successive plays back to back. If we we're well executed, we can be dangerous.
Talking offense with Billy Napier
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