Defensive line coach Brad Lawing doesn’t mince his words and he was sure of himself when he stuck up for Jadeveon Clowney. No way, no how Clowney said anything to LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger prior to kickoff on Saturday.
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing
“That’s a lie,” Lawing said when asked about Clowney’s comments to Mettenberger.
“Somebody told me that and it’s impossible to have happened because Clowney was down there warming up with me.”
The LSU quarterback told reporters following their 23-21 victory over the Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1) that Clowney told him before the game that he “wouldn’t make it through the game.”
Several of the LSU players used Clowney’s alleged comments before the game as a rallying cry to protect their quarterback. Lawing said that he was with Clowney throughout the pregame on the opposite end of the field away from Mettenberger.
“By the time he came out of the locker room and went back into the locker room, he was with me the whole time,” Lawing said. “I know he didn’t say it.”
Lawing went on to say that he didn’t ask Clowney whether he made the comments because he knows the assertion from Mettenberger was untrue.
Does trash talk happen? Of course, Lawing admits, but it just didn’t happen with Clowney and Mettenberger prior to the game.
“Some guys do that, I guess,” Lawing said regarding pre-game dialogue. “But I’ve never seen that help you be a good player.”
Defensive tackle Byron Jerideau
Where’s the beef? - South Carolina has avoided the injury bug this year to its major players but there are a few nagging injuries exiting the LSU game and they’re all at the same position. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing has to deal with three tackles dinged up and all will be limited in practice this week.
Senior Byron Jerideau, who entered Saturday night’s game with a sprained ankle, still isn’t healthy. Sophomore J.T. Surratt injured his ankle early in the game in the 23-21 loss to the Tigers while sophomore Kelcy Quarles suffered a shoulder sprain in the second quarter.
“We’ll know at the end of the week,” Lawing said when asked if his trio will play this weekend. “We were kind of dinged up last week. We’ll know at the end of the week.”
The three injuries leave the Gamecocks without their top three tackles in practice for at least part of the week. A pair of redshirt freshmen - Phillip Dukes and Gerald Dixon Jr. - are running with the first team. Redshirt freshman Deon Green is also in the mix, if necessary.
“The leg bothered him some,” Lawing said of Jerideau. “J.T. Surratt went in and did some good things then he got rolled up. We scrambled around there a little bit, then we lost Kelcy. That’s football. You take who you got and go play ball games. There’s no use in complaining about it. You adjust and then go play football.”
Quarles has started for the better part of his first two seasons at South Carolina while Jerideau is in his first year in a starting role. Surratt was scheduled to start against LSU but Jerideau kept his starting role instead.
Wrapping up - The debate has been whether the tackling was bad against LSU because of poor execution or being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. The answer is a little bit of both but the bottom line is the Gamecocks must do a better job this week against Florida than they did last week against LSU.
“Week in and week out, you have to stop the run,” linebackers coach Kirk Botkin said. “We have to go out there and do better at what we do. We have to get better in practice this week.”
It takes 11 players to stop the run, not just the defensive line and not just the linebackers. All 11 guys on the defensive side of the football must perform better this week against the Gators.
“They just out-played us,” Lawing said. “Their guys played better than ours. We didn’t tackle like we needed to. They played like the No. 1 team in the country.”
Wounded and healed - Running back Marcus Lattimore has practiced both days so far this week. Spurrier said on Sunday he may miss practice time with a bruised hip, but he has gone through both workouts.
Backup safety Kadetrix Marcus was in a yellow, non-contact jersey for practice on Tuesday. He did not dress for last week’s game due to what Brown called a head injury.
“He did a good job in practice today,” Brown said of Marcus. “He actually could have played last week but with head injuries and things like that, you have to be careful and be sure you’re doing the right thing for the player. He’s moved around and practiced well the last few days.”
Spur Marquis Roberts (knee) and cornerback Rico McWilliams (knee) are both out for the year after having ligament surgery. Running back Shon Carson (wrist) had surgery in mid-August and is out “indefinitely.” Running back Brandon Wilds is practicing again but Spurrier has said that it is “likely” that he redshirts this season.
"He's back practicing and getting reps," Botkin said about Roberts on October 9. "He's not 100 percent yet, but he's getting thrown in there and getting mixed in."
Other notes - Saturday’s game will feature Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson on the call with Tracy Wolfson on the sidelines for the CBS crew. … The South Carolina-LSU game on Saturday night was the week’s most highly-rated game across any network, according to a press release from ESPN. It was also ESPN’s most highly-viewed game of the season with nearly 6,000,000 viewers. … Brown was excited to see junior Jimmy Legree make another big play but was hoping to see his corner in the end zone. “It was good to see Jimmy get the interception but you want to score.” … Lawing said that he had not seen the video of Quarles punching an LSU player. As far as Lawing knows, Quarles is available to play on Saturday from an SEC standpoint. … Botkin said that when Florida brings in extra offensive linemen in the run game, which the Gators are known to do, the USC defense will have to adjust its personnel grouping. “When they’re putting different personnel in the game, we’re trying to match up. When they bring in another extra lineman, we’re going to match up with that.”
This week’s schedule
South Carolina practices are now closed to the public. The Gamecocks travel to Gainesville, Fla. to take on Florida on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EDT on CBS.
Wednesday, October 17 - Practice at 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, October 18 - Practice at 4 p.m.
Friday, October 19 - Team departs for Gainesville, Fla.
Saturday, October 20 - South Carolina at Florida at 3:30 p.m. on CBS