"We all handled it poorly."
A statement that resonates this Tuesday after all the questions and media attention that was drawn when South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney didn't suit up against Kentucky due to injury.
It was later determined that Clowney had a bruised muscle around his rib area and he pulled himself out of the game before it even started. The coaching staff found out right before the game and comments made from Steve Spurrier after the game on Saturday and on Sunday certainly indicated there was more to this story than we knew about.
Fast forward to Tuesday and here Coach Spurrier is in front of the media sticking up for Jadeveon Clowney on what he means to this football program and how we all should be thankful that Clowney chose South Carolina.
"Let me say this about Jadeveon: if he never plays another snap here, we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina," Spurrier said on Tuesday. "We’ve won 26 games, two 11-2 years, the greatest seasons we’ve had in the history of this school, 120 years. So, none of us need to be upset at Jadeveon, none of us. He’s played his part tremendously; I think we are 26-5 since he suited up for South Carolina. And I am all for Jadeveon and his future and when he’s ready to play; we are going to put him out there."
The commitment of Clowney to this South Carolina football team was questioned in the national media and led to Paul Finebaum calling Clowney the "biggest joke in college football." On Tuesday, Spurrier spoke to his commitment level by telling us what he's been doing to get back on the football field.
"He’s been coming to treatment, I think twice a day, he’s doing everything he can to get ready to play, so I just want to clear the air that Jadeveon, all those No. 7 jerseys, all the money he’s made for our school, he’s been a tremendous, important player and we all, every Gamecock, including me, and the coaches and everybody out there, we need to be appreciative that he chose South Carolina."
It sounds like Coach Spurrier is certainly trying to make up for the comments he made the other night and his press conference today should silence all the doubters in regards to the status of Jadeveon Clowney.
With all of that out of the way, the focus then turned to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gamecocks have certainly had their struggles against the Razorbacks over the years but will face a different type of Arkansas team that is predominately running the football this year.
Spurrier was asked about both teams focusing on the run in this contest and pretty much said that it doesn't matter who you play that the objective will always be to score more points.
"It doesn’t matter who you play (or how you do it), the object is to get more points than the other team. There are all kind of ways to do it, as we all know. We’re a team of few possessions, we had eight last week and Kentucky had eight, and so, the game moves faster that way. But again, there’s all kind of ways to win, you can try to beat the other guy 55-50 or you can try to beat him 24-21."
Spurrier mentioned that his offense is running the ball and throwing the ball pretty "decent" and that they are converting more third downs. It'll be key for South Carolina to maximize its offensive opportunities this weekend and continuing their strong play on offense will be big for the Gamecocks in a tough road environment.
The Gamecocks hope to come away with a victory this Saturday and doesn't want a repeat of what has happened in the fourth quarter the last three games to show up again this weekend. It'll be a good one regardless and Spurrier knows that.
"Most of our guys are in pretty good health and we are hoping to improve, hoping to get better in the fourth quarter, haven’t been very good, but we’ve managed to hang on and win some ball games. So, it should be a good one out there!"
South Carolina and Arkansas will face off on Saturday, October 12 at 12:21 on the SEC Network.