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Vincent Smith downplays Clowney hit

Outback Bowl

Despite the fact that the Michigan-South Carolina Outback Bowl was a highly entertaining, back-and-forth postseason game that featured a game-winning touchdown pass with just 11 seconds remaining — with some hack even listing it as the top bowl game of the 2012-13 season — just about the only thing that anyone wanted to talk about in the aftermath of the Gamecocks’ win was Jadeveon Clowney.

Specifically, the talk of the water cooler was Clowney’s hit on Vincent Smith that sent the Wolverine running back’s helmet on a deep post pattern in the opposite direction of the line of scrimmage.

For those who may have forgotten about it or, for some reason, never actually witnessed it, here’s the video of The Hit:


Now, while mere mortals such as you and I who would likely have ceased to exist after such a hit, Smith was just fine, other than having to hail a cab to retrieve his headgear.  He was fine physically at the time and, two weeks later, he’s fine mentally despite the replay being seemingly shown on a loop and becoming the subject of ridicule for getting blown up by the likely overall No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

Smith, though, even disputes the notion of getting blown up, answering “oh yeah, it did” when asked by Michael Rothstein of if the hit looked worse than what it actually was. “I saw it coming and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Smith added.

As is ofttimes the case with such a situation, however, there were myriad factors other than “dude, Clowney’s a freak!” involved in the hit, a confluence of events that Rothstein does an excellent job in summing up:

The simple explanation of what happened is Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan called a change in the blocking scheme, and unfortunately for Smith it gave Clowney an open path to him. The Gamecocks called a blitz before the play — something Smith recognized in pre-play reads — and his fullback chose to block the cornerback coming from the left side, where the run was supposed to go, instead of trying to take Clowney up the middle.

Before the play, Smith figured he was going to be hit in the backfield and would have to break a tackle, either from the corner or someone up the middle. He didn’t anticipate everything falling apart as it did just as quarterback Devin Gardner tried to give him the ball.

In the end, everybody’s likely correct.  Yes, it was a helluva play and hit by Clowney as has been universally proclaimed, and yes it likely looked worse than what it actually was as Smith claims.

For his part, Smith said after viewing it on replays afterward, “I forgot about it” and moved on.  Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, though, it’s not an exploding gif that will be going away at any point in the near future.

(Photo credit: South Carolina athletics)

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23 Responses to “Vincent Smith downplays Clowney hit”
  1. mydixienormus says: Jan 15, 2013 3:34 PM

    I seriously thought his head came clean off on the hit.

    Give the kid credit for keeping his mouth guard in though…

  2. woebegong says: Jan 15, 2013 3:36 PM

    Yeah, not a bad hit at all. Not any worse than trying to kiss a locomotive.

  3. scalpemseminoles says: Jan 15, 2013 3:39 PM

    nice hit. he needed this to be big news because he was struggling the rest of the game.

  4. floridacock says: Jan 15, 2013 4:32 PM

    Great hit, but Smith jumped right up. You could tell right away he was OK. But it was a cool hit. Clowney did not struggle, he only had 4 tackles, but he opened up the play of the rest of the D line. Mama’s cooking packed a few lbs on him in the down time. Let’s not forget Carolina won the game as expected.

  5. raysfan1 says: Jan 15, 2013 4:45 PM

    Yeah, it was clear he wasn’t injured. However, he lost the ball (which Clowney nonchalantly picked up with his left hand while lying atop the running back) as well as his helmet; so it was definitely not “no big deal” either.

  6. rsmeans says: Jan 15, 2013 7:10 PM

    Clowney is one of the most overrated players in the CFA. He was the number one draft choice 2 years ago and he has a fast first step but he in very inconsistent and seems mentally incapable of learning the playbook. For every good play he sleeps on 8 plays. At Alabama he would not start because of his inconsistency except on obvious passing downs. He has never been good in run defense.

  7. mydixienormus says: Jan 15, 2013 7:16 PM

    Dude, you are high!!! Any head coach would give up their step child to get Clowney. Guy is a beast!!! Watching the game one couldn’t help but notice how huge South Carolina’s line looked. Hope they beat Florida next year.

  8. classyjacklambert says: Jan 15, 2013 7:27 PM

    Clowney plays like a man among boys and he talks like a boy among men. He is a helluva a player and dumb as a box of rocks but I wish he had chosen to play for my team. I thought he killed this guy when I first saw the play.

  9. jets12 says: Jan 15, 2013 7:34 PM

    @rsmeans spoken like a fan who would be praising Clowney if he were on your team. He would start and play for Alabama or any other team in the country.

  10. Irootforaconferencebecausemyregionsucks says: Jan 15, 2013 8:03 PM

    The Super Bowl victory for USC ( the copycat one) since they can’t win anything else meaningful.

  11. Deb says: Jan 15, 2013 8:28 PM

    Ah … that never gets old :)

    You know, by 2014, Goodell will have given up fining and hired a firing squad to respond to a hit like that. 😦

  12. cuckflemson says: Jan 15, 2013 8:58 PM

    Um, The University of South Carolina was established before California was a state. Therefore your comment is null and void.

  13. Deb says: Jan 15, 2013 9:29 PM

    @cuckflemson …

    ROFL … it’s pretty obvious from “Irootfor’s” username and posts that he’s not exactly brimming over with an understanding of American history. 😉

  14. kozbee says: Jan 15, 2013 9:40 PM

    That was a pro style hit,last guy i seen lay a hit like that was Nick Fairley.You can bet he felt that the following morning.Clowney is a savage lol.

  15. rsmeans says: Jan 15, 2013 11:25 PM

    I like South Carolina but I am not very impressed with Clowney and yes I am glad he did not commit to Alabama. He would be a one down player. Alabama DE’s play consistently good Clowney does not and he is incapable of even learning the playbook so most of the time he plays blind and he is not a good run stopper. Given that because of his quick first step he will always amass a lot of sacks and hurries.

  16. jdesan says: Jan 16, 2013 4:38 AM

    No big deal? Dude, you got blowed up, you got blowed up real good. And the fact that it was a UM player..well, that just makes it all the sweeter!

    Go Bucks :)

  17. cuckflemson says: Jan 16, 2013 9:06 AM

    I’m glad we have a USC insider amongst us. How else would we know Clowney hasn’t learned the play book? Even though the fact that he is leading the conference in tackles for loss would say otherwise. Thanks for clearing that up.

  18. packerbadger says: Jan 16, 2013 12:19 PM

    Like most SEC players; they don’t seem to do real well in the NFL. They don’t have the intellectual resources to understand the more sophisticated NFL plays. Even though the SEC “graduates” their players; its very similar to graduating high school…..almost.

  19. woebegong says: Jan 16, 2013 1:05 PM

    Let’s see, we have the two Manning brothers, just to name a couple of SEC guys that can’t understand a sophisticated NFL offense. A few RB’s that seem to have mastered it as well. Truth be told, the NFL isn’t that much harder than a lot of college offensive game plans or defensive schemes.
    You will have to come up with something a little stronger to insult SEC players and folks from the south in general. Your statement just doesn’t hold up.

  20. packerbadger says: Jan 16, 2013 2:55 PM

    You named two out of how many SEC players that went pro? Tim Tebow, Jamarcus Russell, Johnathan Sullivan, David LaFleur, etc.

  21. packerbadger says: Jan 16, 2013 3:00 PM

    You will have to come up with something a little stronger to insult SEC players and folks from the south in general. Your statement just doesn’t hold up.

    Most state college’s get in-state high school students which reflects on the schools overall academics. Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are the bottom three states as far as high school (and overall) education. If that school happens to go up, its because of people they’ve brought in from out of state.

    What do you call a mensa student on an SEC campus?
    A visitor.

  22. woebegong says: Jan 16, 2013 3:44 PM

    That was just to name a few. But anybody such as yourself who chooses to insult people from the south, will just keep running your mouth like you did the last time, you were on a blog. Does Notre Dame and Martinez mean anything to you. I sure wish you would grow up and start wearing big boy pants.

  23. butthurttater says: Jan 19, 2013 3:41 PM

    Clowney is just an average player, I know – I’m a Clemson fan and I watch the coots play every year. Sure, they have beat Clemson for 4 years in a row now but we used to beat them all the time. The SEC is over rated and the ACC is from top to bottom a better football conference.

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