The Kyle Parker era is coming to an end at Clemson, as he will make his final start for the Tigers against South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. After that, he'll move on to a professional baseball career with the Colorado Rockies as their first-round draft pick. I caught up with Parker earlier this week to get his take on the season:
How much consideration did you really give to not playing in this bowl game?
Kyle Parker: I was obviously frustrated. I really don’t think I gave a whole of consideration at all. It was against my character and personality to quit. The biggest thing that I wanted to tell everyone was that I was coming back, no matter if I was playing or not. I thought it would say a lot for me just to stick it out.
What was the most frustrating part of this season for you?
KP: Obviously whenever you’re not winning it’s extremely frustrating. The biggest thing is not really meeting expectations. That’s probably the biggest of the frustrations. People expected us to do better and we obviously didn’t perform up to expectations.
Do you feel like you got better?
KP: It’s really tough to say. I think I’ve learned some things that can help me out and will hopefully help me out in the future, but with that being said, it’s tough to really improve whenever the team is not doing well.
Do you have any regrets about the decision you made because of the 6-6 record now?
KP: No, not at all. I think there’s a lot of things that went on during negotiations that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t stick it out and wait and make a decision to come back. If I would’ve taken my first offer I wouldn’t have known if I wasn’t going to get more money, or if my destiny would be to stay in football. With that being said, I don’t have any regrets in my decision to come back.
What do you think went wrong for you guys offensively this year?
KP: It was tough. First off, our receiving corps was extremely young and didn’t have any experience hardly at all. That’s always a big one. Then you look at Andre Ellington getting hurt towards the end of the year, that’s tough, too. With that being said, those are two pretty big things to overcome.
I read some things in the local papers down there about your relationship with Dabo Swinney. Was it really rocky this year?
KP: I don’t think it was as smooth as either of us would’ve wanted it to be. You can really attribute that to the frustrations of not having as successful a year as we had planned.
Where do you go from this point? What’s your attitude heading into the bowl game and how hard have you been working?
KP: I’m working extremely hard. I’ve got a few more weeks to play football and then I’m off pursuing other things. I think it would be big for me personally and for a lot of the things I’ve accomplished and the relationships I’ve built here to try to end them on a positive note and move on and continue on my career.
So what is the quarterback situation heading into the bowl game? I know that you’re the starter, but do you feel like you’re still under pressure, like there’s a lot of competition?
KP: Honestly there’s not a whole lot of pressure for me. No matter what happens out there and in the bowl game, I know what I’m going to be doing next year and I have a lot of things pretty much guaranteed. I’m just coming out every day and enjoying being out there, working hard, obviously helping Tajh [Boyd] out. What they’ve communicated to me is I’m the starter, I’m getting 95-97 percent of the reps in practice with the ones. I think I can only go by that, but in looking at previous games, [Boyd’s] been in there, and I’ve gotten 100 percent of the reps, so no matter what I’m just going to stay positive and do everything in my ability to help the team win.