North Carolina v South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney frustrated, but still having impact


Jadeveon Clowney has plenty of reasons to be frustrated about his start to the 2013 season. After a winding down camp by being challenged by head coach Steve Spurrier, Clowney was lacking in highlight film material in a Thursday night game against North Carolina. On Saturday the Gamecocks gave up 41 points to Georgia in a key SEC East match-up. After the game Clowney took some time to vent.

Asked about his reaction following the loss to Georgia, Clowney said “Very frustrating. I told coach ‘man, you gotta put me somewhere else, in the middle, somewhere where I can make some plays,” according to  Michael Haney of Columbia, South Carolina radio station 107.5 The Game. Clowney went on to admit Georgia managed to take him out of the game, by diverting the offense away from him as often as possible and adding extra blockers to keep him from breaking through in to the back field. At times Clowney broke through anyway, but the offensive game plan employed by the Bulldogs and North Carolina has had one constant; play away from Clowney.

From an offensive point of view, it makes total sense. Clowney is among the top defensive players in the game, so why would any offense want to try to challenge him directly? It makes zero sense. What offenses are doing is recognizing where Clowney is lining up and running plays that quickly move away from him on the opposite side of the field or are designed to get rid of the football after Clowney makes his move in to the backfield, freeing up space beyond his assignment.

While Clowney may be lacking on the highlights fans are anticipating and starving for after watching his hit against Michigan on a near loop this entire offseason, he should also see how he is impacting the game. Scouts will surely notice this and take that in to consideration before the 2014 NFL Draft. Clowney will continue to have that sort of impact for the remainder of the season, and there will also be opportunities to break free regardless of what the opposing offense attempts to do.

Clowney will have some highlights before the year is done. It is just a matter of “when,” not “if.”

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.