ORLANDO, Fla. - Jadeveon Clowney feared being late to a team meeting Thursday morning when he was pulled over and issued his second speeding ticket this month, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Monday.
Ward said Clowney was caught in traffic because of an accident on Interstate 26 near Columbia. Instead of being patient, the star defensive end pushed the gas pedal.
"He felt like he didn't want to disappoint the coaches with the last ticket he got," Ward said. "He was supposed to be back at 10:30, and he was on Interstate 26 and saw there was an accident. . He started going fast, and instead of being late for his team meeting, he was late and got a ticket. So you've just got to slow down."
Clowney was pulled over near the intersection of Interstates 26 and 126, reportedly clocked at 84 mph in a 55 mph zone. The ticket cost $445.
Earlier in December, Clowney was pulled over when clocked at 110 mph in a 70 mph zone. That ticket was for $355.
Ward said he isn't as worried about the cost of the tickets, or whether they'll affect Clowney's prospects in the upcoming NFL draft. Though Clowney is expected to be the first defensive player taken in May's draft, Ward said there are bigger things to worry about with his player's driving habits.
"I told him, 'You've gotta slow down.' Life is precious," Ward said. "It's not just about his draft status and getting a ticket. It's about life. Bad things happen with people who drive fast all the time. So, everything I do with JD is all about life lessons."
Clowney was attempting to avoid team punishment when he was caught speeding last week. Ward said Clowney was still punished for being late, forced to run wind sprints after practice. Of course, his driving record also took another hit.
Ward said Clowney will not miss any playing time in the Capital One Bowl because of the ticket or his tardiness.
"That didn't warrant missing game action," Ward said. "Everybody's going to be late sometimes. You don't miss the game because he's late. You just punish him."
Clowney 'motivated' by skepticism
Despite his speeding tickets, Ward said he expects Clowney won't be distracted against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday.
"I think JD understands everybody is questioning whether he can be good against the run," Ward said. "I think he'll play a good football game. I think he's been motivated because of the early reports that he's not going to be a run-stopper. I think JD is motivated by some of the things he sees in the media, and he's been very focused."
A motivated Clowney is not what Wisconsin wants to see Wednesday. Ward said he expects the Badgers to use a lot of two-tailback sets as well as the tight end to help chip block Clowney. It's the same approach most teams have used this season.
"I think anybody who blocks Clowney one-on-one is making a mistake," Ward said.
Spurrier Jr. 'interested' in Duke opening
Steve Spurrier Jr., the Gamecocks' passing game coordinator, said Monday he is "definitely interested" in the open offensive coordinator job at Duke, his alma mater.
The job opened last week when Kurt Roper left Duke to become the offensive coordinator at Florida. Spurrier Jr. played football at Duke and is a 1994 graduate. His father was an assistant coach at Duke before returning as a head coach.