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Carolina’s Clowney Has “Done A Great Job” This Season

jadeveon-clowneyIt won’t be a surprise when Jadeveon Clowney makes himself eligible for the NFL draft.  The junior defensive end came into the season as a potential #1 pick with some suggesting he could even consider sitting out the year to avoid injury.

Instead, Clowney played.  And because expectations were set at ridiculously high levels, he’s been viewed by many as a bit of a disappointment this season.  Here’s the problem: Clowney was expected to make 10 big plays a game while playing a position where one sack per game is considered fantastic.  There was no way he could make enough highlight reel plays to live up to preseason Heisman talk.  And once the season began, opposing coaches schemed around him.  ”We may lose, but we won’t let Clowney beat us.”

Just ask South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams:

 

“I think he’s done a great job.  You don’t see many players that have been double-teamed and triple-teamed and run away from as much as he has this year, and I think he’s done a great job with it.  I think he’s handled himself well.  I think some of the things throughout the year were blown out of proportion with the way it happened.  He’s been great for us here, and we’re happy to have had him here at South Carolina.”

 

What was blown out of proportion was Clowney’s decision to sit out the Kentucky game due to injury.  Head coach Steve Spurrier made it a story by hinting that Clowney didn’t play simply because he didn’t want to… only to later admit that the player’s injury was worse than he had known.

For the year, Clowney recorded 35 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.  In 2012 he made 54 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, five QB hurries and three forced fumbles.  That’s quite a statistical decline when it comes to big plays.

But to see the true impact of Clowney on USC’s defense, just check out the numbers for Kelcy Quarles.  While Clowney was drawing double-teams, Quarles was good enough to take advantage.  In 2012 he recorded 38 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and one quarterback hurry.  This season he notched 36 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, and three quarterback hurries.

While #7 wasn’t the dominating player in 2013 that he had been in 2012, opponents’ focus on him created opportunities for his teammates on a unit that ranked third in the SEC in total defense and second in scoring defense.  For that reason, it would be shocking of Clowney weren’t one of the top three picks in the upcoming NFL draft.

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D-Tackle Quarles’ Father Says Son Will Leave Carolina For NFL Draft

hi-res-185975394-defensive-tackle-kelcy-quarles-of-the-south-carolina_display_imageWell, at least Gamecock fans won’t get their hopes up.

In the middle of a stretch run that’s seen South Carolina jump back into the SEC East race and gain steam as it heads toward a big finale with Clemson, the father of Kelcy Quarles has thrown a little cold water on the USC party.  Buddy Quarles said his defensive tackle son is likely to leave Columbia early and turn pro at year’s end:

 

“I think (the coaches) all came to that conclusion.  They had a good assumption that he’s going to be leaving.”

 

The assumption part?  Steve Spurrier — figuring that Quarles would leave — invited the junior to take part in the team’s Senior Day activities prior to the aforementioned Clemson game.

Quarles has taken advantage of the double-teams to Jadeveon Clowney.  He leads South Carolina is sacks (seven) and in tackles-for-loss (11).  He was the SEC’s Defensive Lineman of the Week following the Cocks’ upset win at Missouri last month when he recorded six tackles (five solo).

Quarles father said of his son’s NFL draft chances: “I’m thinking in the first three (rounds), but I don’t know right now.”

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USC’s Quarles To Miss Game With UT

To get itself back in the win column, South Carolina needs to kickstart its offense.  Luckily for the Cocks, Tennessee will be bringing one of the worst defenses in the SEC to Columbia this weekend.

But the Vols also bring a solid offensive line.  And that line won’t have to face Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles.  USC confirmed yesterday that Quarles will miss his second game in a row due to a shoulder injury (though last week’s absence was chalked up as a “suspension” for Quarles’ punch of LSU O-lineman PJ Lonergan a week earlier).

For the season, Quarles has 2.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and 30 tackles on the year.  But even though Carolina was smoked 44-11 by Florida last weekend, the USC defense didn’t exactly fold with Quarles on the sideline.  UF — a run-first team — managed only 183 yards in total offense and failed to hit the century mark running or passing.  Four Carolina turnovers made the difference in the game, not the absence of Quarles.

To be sure, Steve Spurrier would rather have his starter on the field.  But it’s hard to imagine the D-tackle’s injury will result in a loss to Tennessee, now 0-4 in the SEC.

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Quarles “Suspended” By USC, But He Wasn’t Going To Play Anyway

South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles got caught throwing a punch at prone LSU offensive lineman PJ Lonergan last Saturday.  Not by the officials, mind you, or else he’d have likely been tossed from the contest.  Instead, his act was captured by ESPN and a few fans took it from there to YouTube.  Next stop: brouhaha.

The SEC said the discipline would be up to South Carolina and if that discipline met with league approval, Mike Slive and company would not hand out additional punishments.  Steve Spurrier then said that while the punch wasn’t the hardest punch he’s ever seen on a football field, he would take some punitive action against Quarles.

Yesterday, South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward announced that Quarles would not travel to Florida this weekend as part of his discipline.  Yes, but Quarles also injured his shoulder last week against LSU and was doubtful to play against the Gators anyway.

“He’s probably going to miss a week,” Ward said.  “We’re going to suspend him, so he’s not going to travel, for the punch.”  (Paywall warning.)

So there you have it, the non-suspension/suspension.  And, yes, the league will probably accept the action of Carolina’s coaches.  Quarles is out for the Cocks’ biggest remaining SEC game either way.  Which should put this story to bed.

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Spurrier Promises Discipline For USC’s Quarles, But He’s Likely Out With Injury Anyway

The SEC is leaving the punishment of South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles up to his coach.  Quarles threw a clear punch at LSU offensive lineman PJ Lonergan following a first-quarter play in the Gamecocks’ 23-21 loss last Saturday.

Yesterday, Steve Spurrier said he will punish Quarles for his action (which can be seen here)… even though he also said he’s seen much harder punches during games than the one Quarles delivered to Lonergan’s facemask:

 

“Yes, we do have plans to discipline Kelcy for that.  It was a… I guess you would call it a punch.  I’ve seen a lot bigger punches.  But he did sort of throw at him.  I don’t even know if the LSU guy knew he threw a punch.  I think it just sort of glanced off his shoulder pad or helmet or something in there.  But I saw it, yeah.  We don’t condone that.”

 

Spurrier might not condone it — he even said the player “possibly could” miss playing time — but he sure seems to be playing the incident down, doesn’t he?  Here’s the rule: You don’t throw a punch on a football field.  Whether it connects or not, whether it’s thrown with great force or not, you don’t do it.  Period.  End of story.  Every coach, every player and every fan knows this.

But as it turns out, Quarles doesn’t sound like he’ll be a go for Florida this weekend due to injury.

Spurrier said it’s “very doubtful” his D-tackle will be ready to play Saturday after spraining his shoulder against LSU (photo at left).

Carolina’s two other top tackles — starter Byron Jerideau and backup JT Surratt — are currently dealing with sprained ankles.  Spurrier said the two “hopefully could be ready” for this weekend’s showdown with Florida.  Surratt would likely take Quarles spot in the starting lineup if he’s not healthy enough to play.

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Wow Evening Headlines 10/17/2012

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore may not start vs. Florida due to a bruised hip
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles likely will face some sort of discipline for punching a player at LSU last week
SEC Executive Associate Commissioner Mark Womack says at least four SEC teams may change “permanent” cross-divisional opponents in 2013
Georgia LB Jarvis Jones is questionable for Saturday’s game with Kentucky
Tennessee OL Antonio Richardson on three SEC foes who’s beaten UT: “I think we were better than all three of them.”
Texas A&M S Steven Campbell is quitting football due to concussions and recurring headaches
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Wow Evening Headlines 10/16/2012

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron says he feels good and he’s “ready to go.”
An erroneous Internet report on Monday claimed McCarron tore his meniscus against Missouri on Saturday
South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles could face discipline for punching LSU offensive lineman P.J. Lonergan during last week’s game
The SEC will not suspend backup Alabama DE LaMichael Fanning for “body slam” tackle versus Missouri RB Russell Hansbrough
Tennessee LB Herman Lathers says after players-only meeting that if players aren’t playing correctly, “We’re going to kick them off the field.”
Les Miles says LSU’s defense will be “one of the fastest” Texas A&M QB Johnny Mazniel “will have seen.”
Alabama’s Nick Saban says Tennessee’s offensive line is the best his team will have faced all season
Kentucky coach Joker Phillips would be owed a $2.55 million buyout if fired this season
Arkansas AD Jeff Long says he hopes to have a new football coach hired by mid-December
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Lineman Dukes Commits To South Carolina

Defensive tackle Phillip Dukes from Manning (S.C.) High School has committed to South Carolina.

Dukes is ranked the nation’s No. 9 defensive tackle and No. 104 prospect overall by Rivals.com.

Dukes, who is the 33rd commitment for South Carolina’s class of 2011, joins an already impressive list of defensive linemen committed to South Carolina.

South Carolina has commitments from six defensive linemen, including Kelcy Quarles and brothers Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. Of course, South Carolina is hoping to land defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who’s considered the nation’s top prospect by Rivals and several other recruiting services.

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