Sep 14, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) defends Vanderbilt Commodores tight end Steven Scheu (81)in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Gamecocks Football - Developing Situations

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The Jadeveon Clowney situation blew up immediately after South Carolina beat Kentucky on Saturday night. Clowney, who is battling a rib injury, told his coaches approximately 2 hours before kickoff that he couldn’t play. Coach Steve Spurrier pulled no punches during his postgame comments, making his displeasure about Clowney’s last-minute decision clear. Spurrier said Tuesday, when he went to clear the air, that Clowney “was in pain” and “it was diagnosed later.” Still, Spurrier’s point remains: South Carolina will welcome Clowney back with open arms, but they need him to buy back in to the program. Clowney seems more interested in staying healthy and cashing the multi-million dollar checks he can expect from an NFL team. It’s hard to blame Clowney, who last year watched teammate RB Marcus Lattimore suffer a devastating knee injury mere months before he would have been drafted. Clowney, for his part, denies that his mind and commitment is anywhere other than the South Carolina locker room. It would be easy to understand any frustration Clowney is feeling. The season started with Heisman hopes for Clowney. Those aspirations vanished almost immediately during a sub-par performance against North Carolina. Whatever remained of them disappeared entirely when the Gamecocks defense allowed 41 points in a loss at Georgia. Opponents are setting game plans to take Clowney entirely out of the game and South Carolina has failed to counter with adjustments to force them back toward the monster. He only has 12 tackles with 3 TFLs and 2 sacks. It’s not too late for Clowney to salvage his junior season and regain the form that made him the scariest defensive player in the nation. South Carolina still has national spotlight games remaining against Florida and Clemson. Suddenly the Missouri game could carry weight as well…

QB Connor Shaw showed no ill effects from the shoulder injury that was initially supposed to sideline him for 2-3 weeks. During South Carolina’s win over Kentucky, Shaw completed 17 of 20 passes for 262 yards and a TD. He also ran for 50 yards and another score. The Gamecocks turned out to need all the offense Shaw supplied because the defense once again allowed its opponent to hang around in the fourth quarter…

In four consecutive games, South Carolina’s defense has allowed opponents to creep back into games or, as was the case with Georgia, pull away for the win. The disturbing trend began in the Georgia game. The Bulldogs scored an 85-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter of that game and then put together an 8-minute, 28-second drive to ice the game. Since then, South Carolina has allowed 15 fourth-quarter points to Vanderbilt, 15 to UCF and 21 to Kentucky. The disturbing trend has understandably caught the attention of both Spurrier and defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>Spurrier says he and Lorenzo Ward have discussed personnel changes and there will likely be some. Says guys are &quot;doing their own crap&quot;.</p>&mdash; Heath Cline (@heathradio) <a href=”″>October 6, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Those changes don’t appear to be coming in-season. Will a non-cohesive coaching staff cost the Gamecocks another 10-win season? …

RB Mike Davis continues his impressive, unpredicted assault on South Carolina opponents. In five games, Davis is averaging a league-best 122.8 yards per game. He also ranks second in the league with 8 rushing TDs. In four of the Gamecocks’ five games, Davis has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. He ran for 106 yards and 2 TDs last week against Kentucky.

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