Adding to the playbook

CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Billy Napier recently pulled a few pages from a pair of NFL playbooks to help shape the Tigers' identity in 2010.

This summer he checked out extensive film on the San Diego Chargers and the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints for a better grasp of how the two high-powered offenses utilize their tight ends.

"We have a ton of tape on the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers…we wanted to look at the way the Saints use Shockey and the Chargers use Gates," Napier said.

In 14 games last season, Shockey had 48 receptions for 569 yards and three touchdowns. In 2008—his first season with the Saints—Shockey had 50 catches in just 12 games.

Gates has averaged 75 receptions a season since 2004.

"We wanted to get a hold of their whole season worth of tape and study that, in particular for Dwayne Allen," Napier said.

He expects the foundation of what he did in year one to remain about the same heading the 2010 season.

"The core set of things we do aren't going to be glaringly different," Napier said.

In 2009, Clemson rushed 496 times for 2,385 yards and threw for 2,688 yards while completing 220 of the 390 attempts through the air.

The turnover in personnel is well-known.

Leading rusher C.J. Spiller, who rushed for over 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns, was a first-round draft pick. Leading pass catchers Jacoby Ford (56 catches for 779 yards and six touchdowns) and Michael Palmer (43 for 507 and four) are gone, too.

The trio of Spiller, Ford and Palmer accounted for 30 catches over 20 or more yards. Everyone else on the team had eight.


"We wanted to get a hold of their whole season worth of tape and study that, in particular for Dwayne Allen," Napier said.
"In college football, there's a tremendous amount of turnover. You're always dealing with a new group of players," Napier said. "The biggest thing is, each year's going to be somewhat similar, but you're still trying to keep it fresh."

Quarterback Kyle Parker is back. Running backs Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper will be leaned on to carry the load on the ground.

And most have predicted Allen to be Parker's top target through the air.

"What we did last year has absolutely nothing to do with what we're going to do this year, in terms of success," Napier said. "We started on that a long time ago. The leadership is different. The voices are different amongst the players. That's going to take an identity of its own as we go."

Napier doesn't want to abandon ship and start over from scratch. His study of the Chargers and Saints came about as a way to expand upon what he had already constructed in his first full season as the Tigers' offensive coordinator.

"It's looking for ideas—looking for wrinkles. You're looking for—not necessarily a new identity, but something to compliment what you do already," he said. "That's really all we were trying to do. We'll do that each year."

After the first three days of fall camp, Napier believed his review of the Chargers and Saints tight end system worked well.

"We appreciated that. There's no question that every year you're trying to improve and get a little bit better at what you do. That was part of that process," he said.


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