10 questions with Kyle Parker

CLEMSON - QB Kyle Parker talks about the importance of Saturday's game against Virginia, playing well for the seniors and how Clemson's offense has finally turned the corner.

This is obviously going to be an emotional game for these seniors. Does that put some pressure on you going into this game to win and also snag the ACC Championship game for those guys?
Parker: Yeah it really does. But the biggest thing I'm trying to put out this week is just preparing like we always have. We don't really need to do anything different. I know there's going to be a lot of emotions out there and I know there's a lot of different things we're playing for in this game, but we don't need to treat it any different than we have in the past. We just need to prepare, focus on the details, and continue doing what we've been doing.

Are you kind of glad you get a chance to clinch the Atlantic Division at home instead of waiting for Boston College to lose last weekend?
Parker: I'm definitely glad, without a doubt. I think we all love playing here. I think everyone's ready to step up and make it a memorable time here in Death Valley.

What do you have to say about the comeback this team has made since its 2-3 record?
Parker: I think it says a lot about this team. There was a lot of negativity surrounding us in the beginning of the season and we were just able to overlook it. We kept working hard, kept preparing, and we never lost hope. It's paying off right now and we just need to be sure to keep it up in the coming week.

Do you feel like you were given a lot of experience this season to re-evaluate and improve?
Parker: I guess so. The biggest thing is just having to realize that football is a game that will humble you at any part or time. You don't ever truly know when you're going to win or lose. I think another big thing that we realized is that you're not just going to show up and win. You have to really prepare and you've got to really take every opponent seriously. You can't overlook anyone, you have to come in and put the work in to win.

Kyle Parker has completed 146-of-270 passes (54 percent) for 1,848 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season. (Roy Philpott)

Do you think there was a specific time during this season where you felt like things really turned around for this team?
Parker: I think after the Maryland loss probably. Whenever we had a by week, coaches came in and re-evaluated and kind of figured out some stuff that we could be doing better. The biggest thing is that all our players bought into it. We realized that we wanted to make this season something special and we didn't want to just give up. We wanted to come to work and try to turn this thing around and I think that's what we did.

Talk about your relationship with Xavier Dye and how you've started to look for him a little bit more on the field over the last few weeks?
Parker: I think the biggest thing is that he's just started stepping up and making plays. He's making some big time catches, he had that touchdown catch against Florida State and then came back and had another this last game against NC State. He's just stepping up, he's got the ability and the confidence, and I hope he keeps playing well.

What are your thoughts about playing for the last time with your senior teammates in Death Valley on Saturday?
Parker: I mean I don't know, I never really thought about it that way. I'm just glad I get to play with those guys, hoping they get to make a whole lot of plays. It's going to be fun, I'm looking forward to it.

Do you feel more comfortable in the pocket more than you did at the beginning of the season?
Parker: Yeah, I think so. I guess that's just getting the experience. Just being in the situation and knowing where guys are defensively and when they're coming has allowed me to be more comfortable.

Looking back on the Maryland game, what were some of the mistakes you had to learn from?
Parker: I think the biggest thing was that they were moving some guys around, dropping some guys into zones, and whenever you're not out there a whole lot you just get a little bit uncomfortable. I just got a little bit out of my comfort level and the biggest thing is we weren't really playing too well as a team, and myself in particular. We didn't produce our best individually, but we were able to correct all of that, step up, and move forward.

Do you think that your best game overall was this past Saturday against N.C. State?
Parker: I think with all they asked me to do, yeah. I think I came out there and took care of the ball and that's the biggest thing I wanted to do. We played efficient, and whenever we needed big plays we got them. If you look at it that way, I thought we played pretty well.

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