Parker Impressive in First College Start

by - Correspondent -
Kyle Parker was named offensive MVP of the MTSU game.

It took freshman quarterback Kyle Parker a series or two to adjust to the speed of college football and to get over some early dropped passes by his receivers, but by the end of the 37-14 victory over Middle Tennessee State Saturday night he had shown coaches and fans alike flashes of what he can do with his arm and his legs.

“He was outstanding,” Coach Dabo Swinney said of his QB in the postgame press conference. “He missed one throw all night, and there were about four big drops from the receivers. He made big plays with his feet, showing a lot of poise. He has a good presence and great instincts in his ability to make big plays."

And while Parkers’ stats from Saturday’s game were not eye-popping – 21 attempts, nine completions, for 159 yards and two touchdowns – the end result was a win for the Tigers and a boost of confidence for the offensive unit heading into Thursday night’s ACC showdown with #15 Georgia Tech.

Parker said he was happy with his and the teams’ effort against a tough Middle Tennessee State team, but felt like there were some plays left on the field. He was named offensive team player of the game

“That’s football,” he said. “We always strive to play the perfect game, but we haven’t yet so we’ll just go out and try to get better next week. Everything went good for the most part. There’s still some stuff we can get better on and some things we can do better and we’re going to try to do that.”

Clemson Offensive Coordinator Billy Napier agreed.

“Kyle Parker is going to be a good player,” Napier said. “Outside of the drops and a couple of miscues I thought we did well. The offense line showed some dominance. I was pleased with our first group. The things that stand out were the drop passes, two INTs.”

Those mistakes can be corrected, Napier said, “to make us a better football team.”

“The drops made me a little mad at first,” Parker said. “I knew those guys were going to have to step up and make plays, so I went over to Jacoby (Ford) and told him ‘to just flush it dude. You’re going to have to make a catch or make a play later on and he did that.’”

A key to Parker’s and the Tiger’s success on the football field this season is going to be the offensive line and they had a solid game Saturday.

"I thought we got off to a little bit of a slow start offensively,” said senior OL Thomas Austin. “I thought we adjusted well and started picking up some stuff. Kyle definitely got better as the game went on. He made some great plays."

It will take some more great plays from Parker and the offense if the Tigers come out of Atlanta with a win Thursday night against the Yellow Jackets.

Parker is up to the challenge.

“I’m going to take care of the football and try not to put the defense in a bad position and try to get points when we can,” he said.

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