Following Clemson's 29-7 loss to South Carolina on Saturday night, Dabo Swinney said he was not ready to make a decision on a starting quarterback for the bowl game. The Clemson coach might not have to make a choice.
A source close to Kyle Parker said Sunday there were issues to work out regarding whether the sophomore quarterback will play in the bowl game.
Parker left Memorial Stadium before speaking with reporters following Saturday's loss.
Saturday marked Parker's final home game as the dual-sport athlete has announced his intention to focus on a baseball career after the season. The game did not go well for Parker, who was benched in the third quarter after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Parker was not pleased with the decision, exchanging words with Swinney on the sideline.
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Swinney replaced Parker with Tajh Boyd and did not rule out starting Boyd in the bowl game.
"We'll have to evaluate that," Swinney said of the quarterback situation.
"Whoever gives us our best chance to win will start the bowl game. Right now, here (Saturday), it's not a decision I have to make. We have a lot of bowl practice."
There would be logic to Parker and Clemson parting ways prior to bowl practice, as Parker would eliminate the possibility of injury with the Colorado Rockies' spring training opening two months after the bowl season.
But Parker might not wish to depart before completing a season or with his final college football game being a blowout loss to a rival, his final college pass an interception.
Swinney was pleased by Boyd's effort in relief. The freshman completed 10 of 18 passes for 73 yards. On the season, Boyd has completed 20 of 40 passes for 217 yards, including two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Swinney said he thought the decision to bench Parker was "best for the team." Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier said "It's a tough decision. I think that is one of those decisions you don't like making."
Swinney attributed much of Clemson's offensive issues to a lack of first down production against South Carolina. On Saturday night, Clemson rushed 15 times on first down for 26 yards. The Tigers passed nine times on first down, completing five throws for 32 yards. First down woes led to third-down issues, as Clemson converted four of 15 third downs, and faced nine third downs of five yards or more.
The Tigers almost ended up as Atlantic Division champions. A Clemson win at Florida State earlier this month would have led to a four-way tie among Clemson, Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State, and the Tigers would have owned the tiebreaker. Clemson lost at Florida State on a 55-yard field goal on the last play of the game.
Clemson needs to win its bowl game for an 11th straight winning season ... Corico Hawkins had 13 tackles Saturday, the best for a Clemson defender this season and a career high ...Clemson finished 19th in the country in average attendance, drawing 75,786 fans per game, but it marks Clemson's lowest attendance since 1998.
The Tigers are bowl eligible at 6-6 but they'll likely fall near the bottom of the bowl ladder. The Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte is a possibility but so is the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.
RON GREEN JR.