"Sometimes it might get a little too out of hand, so I try and not yet bring it all out because it's kind of hard," Parris said. "Maybe one day if I ever play, if I ever do anything significant, then maybe I can start showing a little more of that. Right now, I'm trying to get everything, and keep it all in stock, and just try and get on the field."
This spring, George West has been able to break away from the pack of his fellow Notre Dame receivers and become the second guy that head coach Charlie Weis trusts next to David Grimes. Weis has a criteria for what he is looking for at the position, and Parris is doing what he can to join his classmate West at the top of the competition.
The quarterback derby is getting all the publicity right now, but the receivers competition is just as stiff, with several players in the mix to replace Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight, the most prolific receiving duo in Irish history.
"First of all I don't ever like to play receivers that are afraid to block," Weis said. "Sometimes size can be misconstrued like you have to be Samardzija, and (Maurice) Stovall or McKnight; like you have to be one of those guys to block. That's not true. You have to have heart to block. Because a lot of times, the blocks by the wide receivers are getting in the way as you know anyway. You have to see if they are willing blockers. And when it comes to the pass game, can they get off the line of scrimmage, can they run precise routes, and will they catch the ball. It doesn't really have to be a big science theory, it's a pretty simple philosophy. Can you get off the line of scrimmage, can you get open either at the top of your break or off the line of scrimmage, do you run good routes, and can you catch it when we throw it to you."
The 6-foot-3, 201-pound Parris fits part of that profile, but is really working to improve in the key area Weis spoke about.
"What I've always struggled with, I've been trying to work on my blocking most of all, because that's tough," he said. Parris played in six games last season, catching one pass for seven yards against Michigan. "It's a lot different than high school. Coming in, these guys, the corners, the safeties are a lot more physical, they're just as strong as you. I usually catch the ball, I'm just trying to stay strong in that, and trying to work on my route technique, because going against these strong and physical cornerbacks, it's hard to get open when they are playing press coverage. I'm just trying to work on that, just get all my techniques right."
The player Parris tries to model himself after, is the guy he gets compared to the most. Watching Samardzija run patterns in practice and make plays in games, left Parris with many notes to self.
"That was probably the most significant thing of my career so far," Parris said of playing behind Samardzija. "Just everyday watching him, he'd make it look so easy. I'd just sit back there, even if he didn't know it, I'd be taking notes. Any kind of route he did, he'd make it look so easy, and I would try to go out there and try and imitate it. He was very influential. What he did, because we were cool on and off the field, he was a good friend, so if I did something wrong, he'd tell me about it. So just trying to imitate him would make me better because he was such a good receiver."
Parris is trying to take what he learned from Samardzija and apply it to the spring.
"It's definitely a different tempo than the season and everything," Parris said. "It's kind of different because you are not really preparing for a game, it's just a bunch of practices trying to get better everyday, trying to work on something everyday. As the days go on you just try to culminate it into one thing and try to make yourself better everyday.