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Just The Sports: 2010-11-28

Just The Sports

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Clemson should have let Kyle Parker quit on the team

If Kyle Parker really did contemplate leaving the Clemson football team before their bowl game and concentrating solely on baseball this month, the Clemson coaching staff and players should have helped him pack his bags, thanked him for his sub-par quarterbacking play, and told him not to bother to return. Despite what Kyle Parker, Clemson football officials, sports media, and far too many football fans may believe, he has no future in football for the simple fact that he is a bad college quarterback.

Last year, the first thing anyone mentioned when discussing Kyle Parker was how he hit twenty home runs for the Clemson baseball team and then followed that up by throwing twenty touchdown passes for the Clemson football squad. Yes, that was an impressive feat for a dual-sport athlete, but it should not overshadow what else occurred during Parker's first year as Clemson's starting quarterback, namely his below-average passing ability.

In his freshman season, Parker only completed 55.6% of his passes and had 6.8 yards per pass attempt. There is never a circumstance where such paltry numbers are indicative of elite quarterbacking play and the 2009 season was no exception. Of the 115 FBS quarterbacks who attempted enough passes to qualify (average of 14 pass attempts per team game), Kyle Parker ranked 95th in completion percentage and 80th in yards per pass attempt, far below the median .593 completion percentage and 7.3 yards per attempt.

Parker was not just a below-average quarterback his freshman year; he was downright abysmal as a passer.

Perhaps you are thinking that Parker's freshman season was a year of growing pains as he adjusted to the college football game and that he would make a leap as a passer as a sophomore. Actually, the opposite is true since Parker has regressed as a passer in a couple of ways. While he did improve his completion percentage slightly, completing 57.1% of his passes, his yards per pass attempt dropped to 6.4, meaning there has been less value per pass attempt in his sophomore campaign.

Also, his twenty touchdowns in his freshman season were a thing of the past as Parker has only thrown twelve touchdown passes in twelve games. His decreasing ability to find the end zone through the air is reflected in a decline in his touchdown percentage, the percentage of touchdowns thrown when attempting a pass. Parker's freshman season saw him with a .054 touchdown percentage; as a sophomore, he has only managed a .037 touchdown percentage.

Since his interception percentage, the percentage of times intercepted when attempting a pass, has remained basically the same (freshman year: .033 interception percentage; sophomore year: .031 interception percentage), his drop in touchdown production is even more harmful to Clemson.

Furthermore, Parker has continued his mediocre play as a sophomore when he is compared to his peers. There are 114 FBS qualifying quarterbacks for the ongoing 2010 season, and Kyle Parker ranks 80th among them in completion percentage and 92nd in yards per pass attempt. The median marks in those categories are a .603 completion percentage and 7.2 yards per pass attempt.

One poor statistical season can be forgiven if it is then followed up by at least two excellent statistical ones, but with two abysmal quarterbacking seasons on his resume, there is simply no getting around the fact Kyle Parker is not cut out for a long-term career in football.

Lastly, Parker actually does have a bright professional future in baseball so there is actually no reason for him to continue to play football, a sport he has struggled at anyway. In his baseball career at Clemson, especially in his freshman and junior seasons, Parker has shown elite ability in both getting on-base and hitting for power, two skills that will ensure him success in his baseball future.

The best thing he could do for the Clemson football program is to quit wasting its time with his shoddy play, thereby allowing them to move in a new direction and give Tajh Boyd a chance to begin life as the starting quarterback. Mediocre quarterbacks like Parker are eminently replaceable so it is not as if Clemson will even feel his absence that greatly.

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