So I guess that USC head coach Steve Spurrier was tired of the endless speculation about the status of All-World defensive end Jadeveon Clowney for the Gamecocks opener against North Carolina on Aug. 29.
If you’ll recall, he said that Clowney, Bruce Ellington and Damiere Byrd might not play after missing practice Monday night. That set off a firestorm of speculation on just about every social media platform.
The HBC backed off slightly on Tuesday, saying that there was a “miscommunication” between him and the players. That Clowney needed to be out at practice and not “jivin’” around on their cell phones in the locker room. (Who uses the word jivin’???). Clowney, Byrd and Ellington were seen at practice Tuesday and hopefully they left the jivin’ back in the locker room.
Anyway, all was forgiven today after practice.
“All communication problems have been solved,” Spurrier said. “Get the word out to those national media boys. Clowney’s back in good shape, back in the fold.”
As if there was ever any doubt that Clowney wouldn’t play against North Carolina.
Gamecock Nation this is just Spurrier being Spurrier during the preseason. The HBC likes to tweak his starters and star players if they are not putting out the effort.
Off the Orth bandwagon
Speaking of tweaking your starters, you’ll also recall that Spurrier was obviously not happy with quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson on Monday night.
He went out of his way compliment walk-on quarterback Percy Orth after Monday night’s practice saying, “Perry probably threw it around better than anybody.”
No, I’m sure Orth is a fine quarterback, but if he gets on the field in anything other than mop-up duty, the Gamecocks are in trouble.
On Wednesday, Shaw and Thompson were back in the good graces of the HBC.
“(Shaw and Dylan Thompson) are ready to play. We’ll try to find a way to get them both in there, but Connor Shaw is the starter. Dylan is going to play somewhere it looks like. We’re still working on that two-quarterback system offense. We haven’t got to it yet, but we’re thinking about it.”
Defensive tackle battle
South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams knows three of the four starters on the defensive line – Clowney and Chaz Sutton at defensive end and Kelcy Quarles at one defensive tackle spot.
The other defensive tackle spot is being hotly contested between junior T.J. Surratt and sophomore Gerald Dixon, Jr. Right now, Surratt has been penciled in as the starter, but that could change before the opener against UNC.
“T.J. has really stepped it up lately,” Adams said. “He was banged up but he’s come back to have two, three great practices. He’s stepping things up. Gerald is doing a great job, too. It’s a heated battle right now, but both are doing great jobs. I look for good things from both of them. We’re still two weeks away, we’ve got a lot of practices between now and then and there’s still a lot that can happen.”
Surratt, who had back surgery, didn’t seem too concerned on Wednesday about who might start against the Tar Heels.
“I’m not worried about who the starter is going to be,” Surratt said. “I just come out here every day and work hard and that stuff will take care of itself. My back feels great, I’m going to treatment every day and I’m feeling better.”