One cool customer

CLEMSON - If there was such a thing as Florida cool—think California cool, Kyle Parker has it.

Whether it's moxy, athleticism, or a combination of the two, he's got it.

Coach Dabo Swinney believes the two years experience playing for the Clemson baseball team has helped a little bit. He admires how Parker has carried himself during his first two years on the diamond.


RP: Two minutes before kickoff Saturday and you are standing at the top of the hill ... what are you thinking about?
KP: Oh man. I couldn't really tell you right now. I just got chills with you saying that. I'm just going be excited. I will probably be standing up there thinking to myself, "man how did I end up here?" I'm definitely blessed to be in this situation.

RP: You've had to go against this defense all of preseason camp. What's that been like?
KP: Oh man they are fast. They are really good. I'm just glad I'm not the one that has to go against them again. They are all talented. It's going to be exciting to watch them hit other people.

RP: What was your initial reaction when you found out you would be the starting quarterback this year?
KP: I was definitely excited. Eager. I was glad I got the news but in the same sense I had to put it in the back of mind and prepare how I always have and just be ready to go.

1-on-1 with Kyle: (2:39)

-Roy Philpott
Citing Parker's clutch hit to advance the Tigers to the Super Regional this spring, Swinney said it shows mental toughness.

"Kyle's a very even keeled kid, kind of steady heady all the time," he said. "He doesn't really get overwhelmed with anything."

"When you've got Da'Quan Bowers and Ricky Sapp barreling down the sides on you and you have to step up into the pocket and make a throw," tight end Michael Palmer said that's when Parker has shown what it takes to be a college quarterback.

"I don't think he's afraid to get hit, I don't think he's afraid to mess up," Palmer said. "That's a big thing."

After battling with Willy Korn for the rights to the starting quarterback job, Parker was named the starter because he makes the offense more explosive.

Based on what was seen in practice, Parker was considered the best, most consistent guy.

"He's got big play capability with his arm and his feet," Swinney said. "He has the ability to run the ball, he's a tough kid. I'm excited about it, he's a winner."

Offensive coordinator Billy Napier said Parker earned the job through his performance as it became closer to a full-time load.

"He began to surge in spring practice as he became more comfortable," Napier said. "He's extremely talented…Kyle is a guy, who each day improved.

"Once baseball was put to rest, he began to advance at a rapid pace and separate himself."

Though most people are wowed with the arm strength, Parker's willingness to improvise when things break down can't be overlooked.

"I never really go into a play thinking I'm going to have to improvise and take off," he said. "But it's whatever happens."

Not placing Parker's running ability on the same level as CJ Spiller's, Palmer likened Parker's vision and elusiveness to Spiller's.

"C.J. has that extra God-given ability where you see vision. There's no way anybody can coach that…it's that type of thing," Palmer said. "Kyle just sees certain things happen and reacts to it."

With a perspective from the other side of the ball, Chris Chancellor has been impressed with Parker's arm strength.

"He throws with a lot of power," Chancellor said. "He's mobile and can get out of the pocket when it collapses. He's a great quarterback, from what I've seen."

Once Saturday comes, Parker will try to prove he can translate what he's done on the practice field to the game field.

Napier is confident that Parker has mentally prepared himself to handle whatever happens this year, both the good and bad.

"Dealing with some negative and dealing with some success," Napier said. "Not getting sloppy and not looking at the scoreboard continuing to play each play like it's the most important play."

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