Count South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams among those who insists Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is making a major difference for his team, without making much of a difference in the box score. Adams gave Clowney a grade of 91 for his performance against Arkansas last week, when the star junior made just two tackles.
"Obviously that's what everybody looks at is stats," Adams said, according to gamecockcentral.com. "That's what it is. But if you sit down and look at the entire game you look at the way they played and how hard they played, then you see the true impact that they made in the game.
"There were times when Jadeveon was being blocked by two and three guys on a consistent basis, so he's playing hard, he's playing hard every week and I'm happy with the way he's playing. If he keeps playing, the stats will come to him."
Clowney's performance this season has been panned by critics, as he's made just two sacks through the first half of the season, with only 14 tackles. Factors contributing to his lack of production have included offenses game-planning to avoid or double-team him, illness, and injuries including a muscle strain that kept him out of the Kentucky game, and bone spurs that he is playing through.
Still, Clowney's effort and toughness have been called into question this season for various reasons, including his 11th-hour decision not to play against UK that irked head coach Steve Spurrier. Adams said effort, however, is not an issue.
"He plays hard, he gets hard after it every time he gets out here," Adams added. "Things have been said about him throughout the year, this and that, just turn the film on and you'll see how hard he plays."
Clowney gets an outstanding chance to change perceptions of his effectiveness this weekend against Tennessee left tackle Antonio Richardson, a star-quality player with a bright NFL future.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.