South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier removed any doubt about Jadeveon Clowney’s status for the Gamecocks’ season opener against North Carolina.
Ending two days of national speculation, Spurrier confirmed that Clowney is “going to play against North Carolina” on Aug. 29.
After Clowney missed last Saturday’s scrimmage and Monday night’s practice with a bruised shoulder, Spurrier speculated that the All-American defensive end, along with wide receivers Bruce Ellington (hamstring) and Damiere Byrd (hamstring), might not play against the Tar Heels.
Spurrier backed off that sentiment after Wednesday’s practice, declaring that Clowney would definitely be in the lineup.
“Clowney’s back full-go, he looks good,” Spurrier said. “Get the word out to those national media boys. Clowney’s back in good shape, back in the fold. He’s going to play against North Carolina. All communication problems have been solved. He’s back on the team in good standing.”
USC defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was never too concerned about Clowney’s status.
“JD is fine, he had a little bit of a bruised shoulder and his knee was bothering him a little bit, but everyone has problems in camp,” Ward said. “There’s no such thing as being 100 percent right now. He’s been fighting his way through it, but he’s good to go.”
The news on Ellington wasn’t as good. The former Berkeley High School star missed another practice on Wednesday.
“Bruce is still hurt. He’s got a lingering injury that prevents him from practicing,” Spurrier said. “I don’t know when he’s coming back. You’ll have to ask Bruce and the trainers about that, but he hasn’t done anything for a good week.”
Ellington led the team with 600 receiving yards and was second in receptions (40) and touchdown catches (7) last season.
Spurrier was optimistic that Byrd would be ready to go on opening night.
“Damiere was very close to full speed (Wednesday),” Spurrier said.
Sutton still out
Defensive end Chaz Sutton missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury, but he is expected to be ready to play against North Carolina.
Sutton has been in a walking boot since Sunday. Ward said the move to keep Sutton out of practice is just precautionary.
“We just want to make sure his foot is well so it’s not something that’s going to be lingering all season,” Ward said.
If the Gamecocks had to play this week, defensive line coach Deke Adams said Sutton would be able to play.
“Chaz is going to be fine,” Adams said. “If he had to play, he could. It’s more for precautionary reasons. We’re expecting a big year from him.”
Others on the injured list were Cedrick Cooper (elbow), Kyle Morini (elbow), James King (foot), Gerald Turner (ankle), Rory Anderson (hamstring), Mike Matulis (shoulder) and Cody Gibson (knee).
Williams getting vocal
Free safety D.J. Swearinger was an intimidating presence in the Gamecocks’ secondary for the last two seasons.
But Swearinger, who is playing in the NFL for the Houston Texans, also was the quarterback of the Gamecocks secondary, getting players lined up correctly and making pre-snap audible calls.
With Swearinger gone, that role has fallen to strong safety Brison Williams.
“I think you need a guy that’s going to talk and get people lined up,” Ward said. “Brison has taken over that role. He’s done a great job. He’s like a quarterback back there. He’s getting them lined up where they need to be and making the proper checks.”
Clemson, Florida games sold out
Single game tickets for both the Florida (Nov. 16) and Clemson (Nov. 30) games are sold out.
Tickets for those games are still available as part of a limited amount of season ticket packages that remain on sale.