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 Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah