South Carolina squeaked out a 35-28 victory over Kentucky, and the Gamecocks can’t seem to finish on defense…without their best player.
Related: SEC’s week 6 biggest takeaways
Jadeveon Clowney took himself out of the lineup before the game due to a rib injury, which also kept him out of practice Thursday. Steve Spurrier admitted that if Clowney wants to play, he’s more than welcomed to, via GoGamecocks.
“I don’t want to get into all of that,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “I will just say he told me he couldn’t play. That his ribs hurt, couldn’t run. Said ‘I can’t play.’ I said, ‘That’s fine, you don’t have to play.’ We’ll move on. He may not be able to play next week, I don’t know. We’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you that if he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to.
“If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play, simple as that. We were thinking he was going to suit up and play. He did not practice Thursday. Couldn’t run. Said he couldn’t play. Any time a player says he’s hurt, can’t play, who are we to question? He doesn’t play.”
Spurrier’s comments reveal he doesn’t really seem convinced that Clowney is actually hurt.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said he had ‘no idea’ Clowney wouldn’t be able to play.
“Coach Spurrier talked to (Clowney), and he told him he had trouble running because of his ribs, so we found out right before the game he couldn’t play,” Ward said. “I was totally surprised. We went through walk-through earlier today, and he said he was hurting, but I thought he was going to play. I don’t think it had any effect. I think all the guys, when they found out he wasn’t going to play, somebody else has to step it up. We’d love to have JD out there, but we got to put 11 guys on the field, regardless of whether he plays or not.”
Clowney’s ribs are just the latest in a long line of injuries since the start of the season. Here’s a game-by-game look:
- UNC: Stomach bug that caused dehydration
- Georgia: Sore foot limiting mobility
- Vanderbilt: Sore foot but played through it
- UCF: Stomach bug
- Kentucky: Did not play, sore ribs
Related: Carolina-Kentucky highlights
Clowney has made 12 tackles and two sacks in four games, and he’s been the biggest disappointment – player-wise – through the first half of the season.
If only ‘The Hit’ in the Outback Bowl hadn’t happened…
Fans, however, say Clowney is overrated:
Jadeveon Clowney is SOOO overrated, just look at his stats.
— Trevor Schons (@TrevorSchons51) October 6, 2013
I think it’s now safe to say Clowney is overrated and has no heart
— Aaron Hansen (@BIGERN_) October 6, 2013
Am I the only one who thinks Clowney is crazy overrated and will only be an average DE in the NFL?
— Michael Putnam (@Schaeffer817) October 6, 2013
Clowney is so lazy. Dude is so overrated
— Brian Emory (@BrianEmory) October 6, 2013
Is Clowney the most overrated player in college football history?
— Cole Wagoner (@colewagoner) October 6, 2013
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports