Swinney meets with media, talks about Parker situation, upcoming season

by - Senior Writer -
Dabo Swinney met with reporters following the annual media golf outing at The Reserve on Tuesday. (Photos: fotoman)

SUNSET — A relaxed Dabo Swinney met with the media late Tuesday afternoon, and he said that much like Clemson fans, he is ready for the Kyle Parker to finally have some “closure.”

Clemson’s second-year head coach met with reporters following the annual media golf outing at The Reserve Tuesday, and he was asked more than once by reporters to check his phone and see if there were any updates on the Parker situation.

The Rockies picked Parker 26th overall in June’s MLB amateur draft, and Swinney said that it was his understanding that he would definitely hear something by late Tuesday evening.

“Hopefully tonight, I’m sure I’ll get a call from Carl (Parker) and Kyle,” Swinney said. “Maybe I’ll be out watering the lawn at midnight — I don’t know.”

Swinney then said that regardless of the decision that Parker makes, the Clemson program can move forward and begin preparations for the season opener against North Texas.

“We can move on and people can have some closure on it,” Swinney said. “People have been working extremely hard all summer, we’ve had excellent leadership, I think they’ve been focused. Outside looking in we’ve had an excellent summer and I don’t want to let this overshadow that in any regard. We've got to get this football team ready to play. And if he's going to be part of this football team, he's got to be ready too."

Clemson’s head man then said that whether Parker leaves or stays all depends on the “figure” that is acceptable to both sides, but he knows that football is a passion for Parker.

“They [the Parkers] had a figure which would get him out of football,” Swinney said. “If the Rockies are willing to pay that, I think he’s gone. If not, there’s a good chance he’s back. The Rockies have more of a say in it than anyone. Kyle Parker, if you question whether or not he loves playing football, it’s all he’s ever done. He loves football, he loves baseball.

“This is just something that’s been presented to him and people are forcing him to make some type of decision. So I think they’ve been very wise in how they’ve handled it. I’m not just a guy playing football. If I’m walking away I’m walking away from another sport, here. This is a guy walking away from a potential pro career in another sport. So if I’m going to go this route, I’ve got to be paid for that. Otherwise, I’m going to continue to play.”

Swinney was then asked that if Parker leaves, does that mean that redshirt freshman Tajh Boyd is automatically the starter, and he said no.

“We’re nowhere near ready to name a starter at quarterback,” Swinney said. “We’ve got to let them go compete. If Tajh gives us the best chance to win that opener, he’ll start. If Mike Wade gives us the best chance to win that opener, he’ll start. Regardless of who starts, I think we have a situation where we’ve got to be very wise in getting both of them as much time as we can whenever the opportunity presents itself. “

Other notes from the outing and meeting with the coaches:

• Swinney said that he will meet with senior receiver Terrance Ashe at some point in the next week to talk about his status on the team. Ashe was suspended for his role in the fight that got defensive tackle Jamie Cumbie dismissed from the team and he is expected to be reinstated by the start of practice Aug. 3.

• Other than quarterback, the biggest question mark facing the Tigers heading into fall practice is the wide receiver position. “Guys who are going to be emerging to make explosive plays, that is the question mark. Who's going to be ready to step up and be the guy when the lights are on?”

• Offensive coordinator Billy Napier said that if Parker bolts for baseball, he believes that he can Tajh Boyd ready to play. “Sometimes, you have to put a player’s feet to the fire. Tajh can be a leader on this football team. Players on a football team respect two things – your work ethic and the results out on the football field. Tajh has the work ethic, and I believe he has the talent to produce out on the field. But I really believe I can have him ready to play.”

• Swinney was asked if he is ok with the fact that the Tigers may be flying a little under the radar on the national scene, and he said it can be a good thing. “If I was on the outside looking in, and I saw that they didn’t know who their quarterback was going to be, and that they didn’t have really any experienced receivers coming back, then I would probably say ‘shoot, they aren’t going to be any good.’ But I am on the inside looking out, and I see the hard work our players are putting in. Sometimes it’s a good thing to just lie in the weeds and surprise people.”

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