Napier: "I call the plays."

by - Senior Writer -
Offensive coordinator Billy Napier directs the offense at practice.

AUDIO: Offensive coordinator Billy Napier (WMA Format)

CLEMSON – Offensive coordinator Billy Napier met with the media on Tuesday, and made it clear to everyone in attendance that he calls the plays on Saturdays.

Clemson’s struggles on offense have had many wondering if head coach Dabo Swinney is meddling too much in the play-calling, and Napier said he wanted to put that rumor to rest.

“It’s like any program in America in terms of the input of the head coach, maybe things he’s seen within the game and things he’s looked over,” Napier said. “He’s looked over the plan and knows our plan. But I call the plays. And I don’t think it’s any different than maybe it is at any school. You can ask anybody. Most head coaches have input within each play or within each series, however they do it.

“Coach Swinney is an offensive head coach, and he definitely has input on our plan within a game. But I call the plays, and it’s no different than it was last year when we were lighting the scoreboard up. It’s no different. We’ve got a great relationship. Our staff understands how we do it and how we go about our business, and it’s been effective at times. We’ll continue to do it the way we have been doing it.”

Napier was asked if he was surprised at the furor caused by the confusion.

“Yeah. I don’t know what the big deal is,” Napier said. “I don’t know where that comes from. I think, given the fact that Coach Swinney worked on the offensive staff before, and when he got the job made it known that he was going to have input on the offensive side of the ball. If he was a defensive guy and our defense was struggling, they’d probably be asking if he had input on the defensive play-calling.

“We didn’t have to deal with these questions last year when we were doing well. And my answer to the question is, ‘Hey, let’s get it fixed and score a bunch of points, and then those questions seem to go away.’ No different if you sell insurance, and you’re not selling insurance. Whoever is looking over you is going to be asking you questions. We’re in the business of scoring points, and we’ve got to score points. When we don’t do that, there are going to be questions.”

Many around the program think that the Tigers would be better-served in trying to run the football more, and Napier was asked why there have been so many passes called this season.

“We’ve had a couple of losses this year where we’ve been in two-minute situations,” he said. “At the end of the half against Auburn was a two-minute situation, where we scored. At the end of the half against Miami, we had a two-minute situation. In the game the other night, we had a two-minute situation. So a lot of that maybe has to do with maybe the way the game is going. I do think most of the time, if you’re behind or coming from behind, and it’s late in the game, sometimes you get put in that position. When you’re behind and you’ve got to go score, you throw it more often. That’s been the case this year in those losses, in particular.”

He then said that he hasn’t given up on running the ball.

“But in my opinion, we’ve got to rush it effectively to be a winning football team,” he said. “There’s no feeling from me that it’s any different. I’m trying to play to our personnel strengths and maybe what we have to do within the game. One of the things we did well against Florida State was when we got behind the chains on second-and-long, we threw and caught the ball well and got ourselves back to third-and-short. The more you can stay on schedule, the more options you have and you can continue to run it.

“We’re just trying to do what we need to do to create some points. Nothing has changed in terms of my beliefs or anything. We are where we at, and we’ve got what we’ve got, and we’re doing the best we can. The thing that disappoints me, maybe, are the penalties and turnovers. Those are the things that are often coaching-related. That’s what makes my stomach ache, is when you shoot yourself in the foot. I’ll take accountability for that. That’s what I spend my time ailing about, I guess.”

Napier said that Clemson’s repeated failures in the red-zone – no touchdowns in four trips last Saturday – also caused a slight change in the way he calls plays.

“I think after it happens once or twice, you probably get a little more aggressive in terms of trying to create touchdowns,” he said. “But I do think you’ve got to call the game as if, ‘Hey, if we have to kick the field goal, let’s kick the field goal and make the field goal.’ And we did that twice Saturday.

“But looking at it objectively, we have to score touchdowns when we get down there. And we’ve done that to some degree, but we’ve stumbled and needed to kick some field goals. Early in the year, we cashed those checks in and took our three and went to the next possession. Lately, we haven’t been able to do that. Boston College, in particular, our kids didn’t handle it well.”

Twice the Tiger offense tried fade passes into the end zone against the Seminoles, and one of those turned into an interception when freshman receiver DeAndre Hopkins slipped. Napier said those were just occasions where he was trying to get his playmakers the ball.

“Given when those were in the game, you get down there and obviously Hopkins had made a few plays at that point in the game in similar situations. And Brandon [Ford] is a guy who’s shown that one of his strengths is going up and attacking the ball. I think that’s more a product of the personnel that you have. And you’ve had some red-zone issues, and then you’re trying to give the guys you feel best about going up and making a play. It’s basically a product of that, the hand you’ve been dealt and personnel, trying to pick and choose the best ways to create some points down there.”

Earlier in the season, tight end Dwayne Allen looked to be a target near the goal line, but his opportunities seem to have dwindled.

Napier said Allen’s lack of production isn’t for a lack of trying.

“I think maybe we’ve tried to dial his number a few times and it hasn’t worked out,” he said. “Sometimes what the defense does can dictate where the ball goes. Dwayne is a guy we’ll plan for every week. And if you think back and take a good look at it, he’s the primary guy on a lot of stuff we’re doing down there. Boston College, for example, there was a play where he was the primary guy and they overplayed it and we forced the ball. Dwayne Allen is a guy who is a great red-zone weapon, and we’ll continue to use him.”

Rate this Story:
13 votes

Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
Post your comments!
Subject (Replies: 53) Author
Napier: "I call the plays."
Then time for Dabo to call an audible on the OC.***
Baltimore Tiger®
Why am I confused?
Who knew Billy Napier even knew what the redzone was
In all fairness
i wish they'd accept that it was spiller/ford lighting up
If this is true....
Here's my take on Napier's comments
remember this is the group that didn't know how to use
Graphic Tiger®
That was Bowden. Dabo knew how to use Spiller. See last year***
Only because he didn't have Davis anymore...
And you know if JD were here he would have done same as TB..
Didn't have Davis, but had Ford. I'm sure if Davis were
somebody's lying***
seriously, pheebo? you can think someone is
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
Point!! At least he's owned up. Now we're getting somewhere!***
glad you confirmed what we all thought
Re: Wrong.
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
aka "I am the scape goat."***
I think he all but admitted Dabo meddles - read the 3rd
Re: I think he all but admitted Dabo meddles - read the 3rd
Re: I think he all but admitted Dabo meddles - read the 3rd
Re: I think he all but admitted Dabo meddles - read the 3rd
Just because you "think" and "want" that to be true....
Re: I think he all but admitted Dabo meddles - read the 3rd
then it's official Napier is the reason behind our horrible
We need a consistent kicker
We need consistently score TDs and
Re: We need a consistent kicker
Napier could have worded this a little better...
"I call the plays.. except when Dabo calls the plays." What?
Re: "I call the plays.. except when Dabo calls the plays." What?
Yea, Cam Newton has nothing to do with AU being as good
Think Auburn would be 11-0 with Dabo & Napier as HC & OC?***
2009: Clemson ranked 74th in total offense. 2010: 89th.
This post deserves a new thread***
Ah, truth. Always refreshing.***
2009 scores helped by CJ+Ford kick returns/field position.***
Can't argue with you on that.....def true.***
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
Bad Economy
Well call the plays somewhere else***
Why keep referring to last season when its "this" season?
House of Orange
Napier: "I See Dead People"***
Re: Napier: "I call the plays."
Should it always come down to fieldgoals?***
Oh ya we forgot how to score touchdowns***
It is not working!***
Like he's proud of it

Sammy Watkins leaves game with head injury

Friday Email Bag

Clemson releases recap video on win over Louisville

WATCH: Clemson still 'most complete team' after losing kicker

Clemson offers nation's No. 1 2019 center

Focus shouldn’t be a problem against Boston College

WATCH: Watkins scores first Rams TD, adds another in big night

Advanced outlook: Clemson heavy favorites for BC, beyond

Clemson Football uniforms for Boston College
Sign Up for E-Mail News Alerts
Daily Digest