User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Spurrier: Clowney was not distraction

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said having one of college football's top playmakers in Jadeveon Clowney was never a burden for the Gamecocks last season, no matter how big a distraction he seemed to be at times.

Advertisement
Clowney became the center of college football once he popped the helmet off Michigan tailback Vincent Smith at the 2013 Outback Bowl. He drew national coverage that put the affable defensive end - and the Gamecocks - in the spotlight nearly every day.

''We got through the year and he did an excellent job,'' Spurrier said.

There won't be same frenzy swirling around South Carolina when the Gamecocks open fall camp Friday night.

In addition to Clowney, the No. 1 pick of the Houston Texans, other high-profile players including quarterback Connor Shaw, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, wide receiver Bruce Ellington and cornerback Victor Hampton are off to pro careers.

Clowney was a major part of the Gamecocks putting together three straight 11-2 seasons. It's a pretty impressive run for a program that had only once before reached double-digit wins in 120 seasons of football.

To get there again, South Carolina will have to rely on players without much experience.

On the defensive front, the Gamecocks will look to untested players like Darius English and brothers Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. In the secondary, South Carolina will rely on young cornerbacks like Wesley Green and Chris Lammons to fill in for upperclassmen Hampton and Jimmy Legree at the position.

Linebacker Kiawan Lewis thinks things will play out like last year when the Gamecocks lost five senior linebackers from a year earlier and counted on newcomers like himself and Skai Moore to step up. It was rocky at first, but eventually the youngsters settled down to help the Gamecocks become a top-10 defensive unit nationally.

''We have confidence in those guys up front and know they're going to play well. We'll help them do that,'' Lewis said.

Spurrier called Shaw the greatest quarterback in school history and it's hard to argue after he led the Gamecocks to the country's current longest home win streak at 18 in a row. But Dylan Thompson, this year's starter, has had his moments of success - he led the Gamecocks to a 27-17 win over Clemson in 2012 subbing for an injured Shaw - and believes prepared for his moment.

''If I keep working hard, I think we can have a solid offense,'' he said.

Shaq Roland, South Carolina's Mr. Football in 2011, will be looked to take over for Ellington, the team's top receiver last season.

Still, the question all camp will likely be how the Gamecocks will get along without Clowney.

''I've said it over and over,'' defensive ends coach Deke Adams said. ''We're going to line up and we're going to play.''

Maybe people agree.

The Gamecocks were the preseason pick at SEC Media Days to win the league's Eastern Division and reach the conference championship. To get there, Spurrier knows his players will have to keep focused and working hard.

''I think we're close to big things around here,'' Spurrier said.

There' s no dispute that Clowney did big things at South Carolina.

There were the national TV cameras at many practices, the fans lined up begging for Clowney's autograph and athletic department inquiries about whether the junior got paid for signing or wrongly had contact with agents.

And then came several dustups with Spurrier, who quickly grew tired of 24/7 Clowney coverage. He would not let Clowney speak to media for much of the season, the one notable exception coming in October when Spurrier questioned the players' mindset after he abruptly pulled himself from the Kentucky game shortly before kickoff with an injury.

''It was tough for him,'' Spurrier says now. ''As I've said lately, he did not even have to play last year. He could've sat out like a lot of people said, `Man, sit out. Don't get hurt. Don't risk injury.' But he said, `No, I want to play for my school. Play for my team.'''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
BetOnline.ag: Alabama made 2017 favorite
Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Bowls
SDSU's Long gets 5-year extension
Colorado brings in D.J. Eliot as DC
Florida QB Del Rio undergoes surgery
JMU's Houston gets new contract
San Diego State gives Long extension
Shoulder sidelines UW QB Browning
Six FCS players to watch at all-star games
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 2051
Joe Williams + 1909
Pat Hawkins + 1752
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 400
Joe Nelson + 385
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1239
Scott Rickenbach + 1082
Kyle Hunter + 1023
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2485
Kyle Hunter + 2166
NeiltheGreek + 2076
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 805
Scott Rickenbach + 657
Pat Hawkins + 595
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership