It didn’t have to end this way. The day started with Kyle’s parents being recognized with the parents of the seniors on the field as their son’s prepared to play their final game in Death Valley.
Shortly after each of the players who were playing their final game in the Valley got to run down the field and be recognized by the fans.
Kyle Parker started the night by completing passes of one yard to Chad Diehl, 32 to DeAndre Hopkins and 45 to DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown. After that drive Parker had completed 15 straight passes going back to the Wake Forest game.
Parker would complete four of his next fourteen. Four of those incompletions were due to dropped passes and one was due to the receiver running the wrong route.
After Kyle threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown with 12:04 to go in the third quarter coach Swinney decided to pull Kyle Parker in favor of Tajh Boyd. Kyle would not return for the Tigers.
The move to replace Parker was a classless move by coach Swinney in a game where the Tigers were being dominated by South Carolina for the second year in a row. Pulling Kyle was clearly a move by Dabo to passify the fans that were grumbling in the stands. It was a move by an inexperienced coach and a move that caused the head coach to lose more respect from many of his players.
Just four months ago coach Swinney was texting Kyle while he was playing in the College World Series trying to convince him to return for one more season to help lead the Tigers. For the past month coach Swinney and coach Napier have both said numerous times that Kyle Parker gave the Tigers the best chance to win. That all changed with 12 minutes remaining in the game and the Tigers down 26-7 to South Carolina.
That move should not have been made in Kyle’s last game in Death Valley. Tajh Boyd will get his chance to lead the Tigers for the next three years and he has the tools to be a very good quarterback for the Tigers, but Saturday night down 19 with 12 minutes to go in the third quarter was not the time to make the move to the future quarterback. Even Boyd seemed surprised by the move following the game. Hopefully Tajh will have a better exit from Clemson in the future than Kyle had Saturday night.
Kyle Parker deserved much better from Dabo Swinney. It shouldn’t have ended this way.
Following the game Kyle was the first to leave the field and quickly left the locker room in DeathValley before allowing any interviews with the media or speaking with the coaching staff.
Tajh Boyd will now get a chance to lead the Tigers in the bowl game to see if they can avoid the first losing season since Tommy West’s final season.