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Carolina Concern: Spurrier Goes Pinkel On Clowney

jadeveon clowney-chasing-qbLast fall, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel caused his starting quarterbacks some headaches when he let the world in on the fact that James Franklin had refused a painkiller shot before the Tigers’ game with Arizona State.  “It was just too painful for him, and he didn’t want to play,” Pinkel said.

Franklin and Pinkel are now flying high again at 5-0 and their past woes are behind them.  Carolina fans should hope that some apparent friction between Steve Spurrier and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney should play out as well.

Despite bruised ribs, Clowney was expected to play on Saturday against Kentucky.  He didn’t.  Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said he was “totally surprised” that his star didn’t go.  Spurrier said more:

 

“I will just say he told me he couldn’t play, that his ribs hurt.  Couldn’t run.  Said, ‘I can’t play.’  I said, ‘That’s fine, you don’t have to play.’  We’ll move on.  He may not be able to play next week (versus Arkansas), I don’t know.  We’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you if he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to. 

If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play, simple as that.  We were thinking he was going to suit up and play.  He did not practice Thursday.  Couldn’t run.  Said he couldn’t play.  Any time a player says he’s hurt, can’t play, who are we to question?  He doesn’t play.”

 

Here’s the video of Spurrier’s comments.  Draw your own conclusions:

 

Spurrier on why Clowney did not play vs. Kentucky

 

Asked about Clowney’s commitment to the team yesterday, Spurrier said, “You’ll have to ask him that.  I can’t speak for Jadeveon.”

Ouch.

But Spurrier also explained that Clowney didn’t have bruised ribs.  Instead he has a strained muscle near his rib cage.  And the Ol’ Ball Coach’s frustration came from the fact — he said — that he “didn’t know he wasn’t playing until right before the game.”

Fair enough.

But it will be interesting to see how this story develops throughout the week and the season.  Some, after all, are already writing things like this: “It’s pretty clear to me that Clowney is the one tanking for the NFL by giving up on his 2013 season.” 

Tanking the season?  Or truly injured?  On Saturday, Spurrier didn’t seem to be buying the injury bit.  In fact, he sounded a whole lot like Pinkel a year ago.

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Spurrier Vows To Help Out With Carolina’s Secondary

spurrier-baywatchSouth Carolina’s loss to Georgia in early-September created quite a bit of friction inside the Gamecocks’ program.  You might remember two coaches fighting on the sideline or Jadeveon Clowney questioning the way coaches were using him.  You might also recall Steve Spurrier saying that his coaches needed to be more creative with their defensive looks and vowing to give “Coach (Lorenzo) Ward some suggestions.”

Apparently none of those suggestions dealt with stopping big plays. Only one BCS team has allowed three pass plays of 70 or more yards on the season.  In fact, no other SEC defense has allowed three passing plays of 60 or more yards.

So Spurrier’s ready to step in with more advice:

 

“We’ve got some issues that we haven’t cleaned up yet, and we’re going to try to clean them up.  I’ll be helping out with the secondary.  Obviously, we haven’t gotten it corrected yet, but we’ll keep working on it.”

 

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a head coach doffing his CEO hat in order to take a hands-on approach with a specific unit on his team.  But to say suggest he’s coming to the rescue every time a particular problem comes up sorta/kinda hangs out to dry the coach charged with handling that group.

Of course, that in itself might be a Spurrier motivational tactic.

 

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ESPN’s McShay Says Carolina’s Clowney “At A Different Level” From Other Players

jadeveon-clowney-helmet-off-meanSouth Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney entered the 2013 season as a long shot Heisman candidate.  Now, three weeks of football in the books, he’s faced questions about his effort, his conditioning, and his injured foot (which will require surgery to repair bone spurs after the season).

Readers of this site know that we believe Clowney has played just fine.  It’s the hype that got out of control.  All offseason, we were force-fed  video of Clowney’s game-changing tackle/forced fumble/fumble recovery versus Michigan in the Outback Bowl.  It was an incredible play.  It was one of only a few big plays he made that day.

And that’s the rub when it comes to pushing defensive linemen for the Heisman Trophy.  Quarterbacks and running backs and receivers make numerous highlight-worthy plays per game.  Defensive linemen?  And end like Clowney has had a great day if he records a pair of sacks.  So when the camera is on him for 60 minutes each Saturday, there are going to be a lot of plays that won’t wow the masses.

In Clowney’s case, though, he’s still wowing the NFL draft analysts like ESPN’s Todd McShay.  The man brought in to mix it up with Mel Kiper believes Clowney will still be the top player chosen in next year’s draft, so long as the team picking first isn’t desperate for a quarterback:

 

“Clowney’s at a different level than everybody else physically and he’s playing a little bit harder than people are giving him credit for.”

 

Through three games, Clowney has recorded two sacks for 16 yards.  Only two SEC players — Kentucky’s Za’Darius Smith and Arkansas’ Chris Smith — have more.  Clowney has three tackles for loss to his credit so far, plus one forced fumble.

Considering the fact that every team the Gamecocks face tries to go in whichever direction he is not, Clowney’s “disappointing” start to the season has been greatly overblown.

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How Do You Stop Jadeveon Clowney?

The question Georgia fans are asking: How do you stop Jadeveon Clowney?

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UNC O-Lineman Says He Isn’t Scared To Face South Carolina’s Clowney

gfx - they said itHow’d you like to be the guy charged with facing Jadeveon Clowney in 2013 football season’s opening game?  Every mistake will be magnified by ESPN cameras pointed directly at your man-to-man matchup with arguably the best player in college football today.

For North Carolina offensive lineman James Hurst, the challenge is an opportunity:

 

“(Clowney’s) a great player, probably the best player in college football, but you can’t play the game scared.  You can’t let him intimidate you or you’ve already lost.  He’s going to make his plays and hopefully I make a few of my own.  I know I won’t be out there alone…

Everyone sees (Clowney) as a great player.  I’m going to use this opportunity to kind of prove myself and show everyone that I’m capable of playing at the top level.”

 

The tough part for Hurst is simply a fact of life for offensive linemen: You can win your individual battle 90% of the time, but if the other 10% result in sacks, lost yardage or turnovers, you’re the guy who’s gonna be seen on “SportsCenter” being used as a turnstile on those one or two plays… again and again and again.  And again.

Just ask Michigan’s players if they’ve enjoyed seeing one play from their Outback Bowl loss to Clowney and Gamecocks all offseason.

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USC’s Clowney Will Play In Opener, But Ellington Still Injured

gfx - they said itEarlier this week, Steve Spurrier called out three of his top players for not bouncing back from injury quickly enough.  Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and receiver Damiere Byrd returned to practice the next day.  Fellow wideout Bruce Ellington has not.

According the Gamecock coach, Clowney is now fully cleared for Carolina’s opener against the other Carolina two weeks from today:

 

“Clowney’s back full-go, he looks good.  Get the word out to those national media boys.  Clowney’s back in good shape, back in the fold.  He’s going to play against North Carolina.  All communication problems have been solved.  He’s back on the team in good standing.”

 

Spurrier’s quip about “those national media boys” feels a bit off since he himself told reporters that Clowney and the others might not play.  He also knows how to play the media like a harp.

As for Ellington, the coach said: “Bruce is still hurt.  He’s got a lingering injury that prevents him from practicing.  I don’t know when he’s coming back.  You’ll have to ask Bruce and the trainers about that, but he hasn’t done anything for a good week.”

Ellington — USC’s leading receiver last year — is dealing with a hamstring injury.

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Spurrier’s Veiled Message Received By Carolina’s Clowney, Byrd

gfx - they said itYesterday we told you that Steve Spurrier had on Monday gigged three South Carolina starters for not working through their injuries.  The Ol’ Ball Coach suggested that receivers Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney might not play in the opener if they don’t get back on the practice field.  “We got a bunch of hurt guys that act like they’re really hurt right now; they may not play,” Spurrier said.

Just for emphasis, he added: “All I’m trying to say, if they can’t play, we got plenty of guys who can play.  So we’re not depending on them.”

Two of the three players Spurrier called out — Clowney and Byrd — were back on the practice field yesterday.  Spurrier then reported that all’s well again in Columbia (which suggests Spurrier views Ellington’s hamstring issues are legit):

 

“Jadeveon is doing fine.  Bruce is doing fine.  Damiere is doing fine.  We had a communication problem.  They didn’t know they’re going to be out here watching practices.  We had a communication problem and now we’re ready to go.”

 

Ah, so it was failure to communicate.

 

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Spurrier Sends A Message To Carolina’s Banged-Up Stars

gfx - they said itDefensive end Jadeveon Clowney and receivers Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd have been put on notice.  Their head coach wants them back on the practice field ASAP.

According to GoGamecocks.com, Steve Spurrier announced after last night’s practice in Columbia that his banged-up stars might be held out of the Cocks’ opener against North Carolina in 16 days:

 

“We got a bunch of hurt guys that act like they’re really hurt.  Right now, they may not play…

Damiere and Bruce tried to run this morning and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re out the first game, the way their hamstrings are coming around.  So we’re planning on playing, maybe without them.  And right now, Clowney’s got a bruised shoulder.  If it doesn’t come around real soon, we may play without him in the first game.”

 

Asked if he might be trying to light a fire beneath the three players, Spurrier added: “All I’m trying to say, if they can’t play, we got plenty of guys who can play.  So we’re not depending on them.”

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South Carolina On Clowney: “We Determined There Was No Violation”

jadeveon-clowney-autographPulled into Johnny Manziel/autograph story by Texas A&M supporters attempting to shift the focus from their own quarterback, University of South Carolina officials have said this afternoon that Jadeveon Clowney is guilty of no wrongdoing.  Associate athletic director Chris Rogers said today:

 

“We have investigated things that have been on eBay with him and student-athletes before.  In the situations I can say we looked into, there was no further for us to go, and we determined there was no violation.”

 

The website GoodBullHunting.com — a Texas A&M-centric site — claimed today that 258 sequentially-numbered items signed by Carolina’s star defensive end can be found for sale on websites like eBay.

Clowney’s coach, Steve Spurrier, told ESPN today: “There is a lot of stuff out there with Marcus (Lattimore) and Jadeveon, but as far as I know and I really believe Jadeveon has never accepted anything for signing anything.”

Whether he has or he hasn’t, Clowney is now a part of Autograph-gate.  What?  You thought we’d all be able to focus on football now that the season is less than a month away?  Please.  As soon as it was learned that the NCAA is digging into rumors that Manziel’s had received cash in exchange for his signature, it was only a matter of time before every item on the internet autographed by a current college athlete would be scrutinized.

Yippee.

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South Carolina: No Wrongdoing Between Clowney, Jay Z

South Carolina’s compliance office has finished its review and found nothing wrong with the relationship between defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Jay Z.

 

South Carolina began to look into the relationship between Clowney and Jay Z, who represents Roc Nation Sports, after reports surfaced that Clowney was being pursued by the famous rapper. Clowney posted a photo of the story (which has since been deleted) on his Instagram account on Monday.

clowney insta 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing wrong with Clowney having contact with Jay Z or any other agent. There would only be an issue if Clowney were to accept any benefits or agree to sign with anyone once his playing eligibility has ended.

South Carolina was smart to check on the situation as soon as it became public. The school would be wise to continually check on Clowney because of the celebrity status he will continue with him during the rest of his college career.

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