CHAPEL HILL — Might North Carolina face a Jadeveon Clowney-less South Carolina team on Aug. 29 in the season-opener for both teams? If you believe South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, it’s possible.
Speaking of Clowney and some other players who have missed practices recently, Spurrier told reporters this on Monday night, according to the The State: “We got a bunch of hurt guys that act like they’re really hurt. Right now, they may not play.”
Clowney, according to the The State, missed one practice with a minor knee injury. He has been held out of other practices recently because of an injured shoulder. To which Spurrier said, “If it doesn’t come around real soon, we may play without him in the first game.”
Spurrier’s comments, as you’d expect, have created a bit of a firestorm. Clowney is entering the season as perhaps the most hyped college football defensive player in history, with no shortage of Heisman Trophy discussion surrounding him. We’ve done our part, even, with a story about James Hurst, the UNC left tackle who has spent all summer thinking about his impending matchup with Clowney.
And now that matchup might not happen? I’m not buying it.
Spurrier is a master motivator. It should be obvious his comments on Monday night were meant more than anything as a warning to Clowney and other injured players that, hey, we’ll be OK without you. Not that it's likely to come to that -- at least in regards to Clowney. It would likely take a lot more than a dinged-up shoulder to keep him from playing in the first game of a season that is beginning with Heisman expectations.