CLEMSON - Offensive coordinator Billy Napier got his first glimpse into the defensive mind when he served as a Clemson graduate assistant in 2004.
He worked as the on-field defensive assistant to coordinator John Lovett - who will be calling the defensive plays geared to shut down the Tigers in Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game at Land Shark Stadium.
Lovett, who lasted three years at Clemson before being fired by Tommy Bowden in 2004, is in his first season as No. 8 Miami's defensive coordinator.
Miami's defense utilizes the system favored by coach Randy Shannon, featuring a conventional 4-3 front and split-safety defensive backfield as opposed to Lovett's preferred 4-4 front with one roaming safety. Both weave in heavy doses of man coverage.
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Napier said the play-calling has been reflective of the blueprint imparted by Shannon and Lovett's previous employer, North Carolina's Butch Davis, for whom Shannon played and was groomed by in the coaching ranks.
To that end, the Hurricanes use a relatively simple scheme reliant on their athleticism.
"John always really believed in not being too overly complicated," Napier said. "He really believed in those guys understanding and being able to adjust, knowing the big picture and playing really fast.
"He didn't want them to ever be confused. They're very similar to that. Most good defenses are that way."
The ACC has signed off on allowing Clemson corner Chris Chancellor to remain in Miami until Monday in order to attend the funeral of his former high school teammate, Jasper Howard.
Howard, a Connecticut cornerback, died from stab wounds last Sunday. Chancellor will wear Howard's No. 6 Saturday and fly back Monday.
Sophomore defensive end Da'Quan Bowers shaved his dreadlocks last week, eliciting comparisons to how Samson lost his strength after a haircut.
Bowers was credited with six tackles (three for loss) and three quarterback pressures against Wake Forest, wreaking havoc in the backfield for a large portion of his 36 snaps.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele said Bowers has improved "night and day" from what he inherited in the spring.
"It's been an unbelievable process, now," Steele said. "That guy, boy, he's really smart. He now is at the point where we're actually giving him some ability on third or second down to, based on the set and what he sees, to call the pass-rush himself. To call the front. Because he's really bright and understands what we're doing and can apply himself.
"For a guy who's 19 years old to do that, and then to go play the way he's playing. ... When he gets everything right, obviously he has the tools."
Swinney (39) and Miami's Randy Shannon (43) are the ACC's youngest coaches. The next youngest is 52-year-old Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. ... No new players were on Clemson's final injury report. Miami fullback Pat Hill has been ruled out with a sprained ankle, while several prominent players are listed as probable: running backs Graig Cooper (hip) and Javarris James (lower extremity) as well as receiver Aldarius Johnson (shoulder).