But with a chance to cause a greater stir with a reply at the NFL Scouting Combine, Clowney stuck to defending himself rather than returning a dig at his former coach.
"I wouldn't have anything to say about it. That's just an opinion," he said. "I believe I did work hard. You can pull out any practice tape from last year, and you'll see that. I'll tell anybody that. I'm always going to be working hard, no matter where I am at. I'm going to work hard and give a team everything I've got."
Spurrier said Clowney's work ethic ranked behind those of former Gamecocks Stephon Gilmore, Melvin Ingram and Marcus Lattimore, all of whom are in the NFL. But while Spurrier clearly feels Clowney could have put more effort into his own development at the college level, he came to Clowney's defense when it came to questions about his dropoff in production (three sacks) as a junior in 2013.
"Even though his production this year wasn't near what it was last year, he had two to three guys waiting on him just about every play," Spurrier said. "His run defense was very good, though. He chased down a bunch of guys and made tackles. His sacks, he had to go around two and three guys just about every game."
Clowney said Saturday: "I wasn't really worried about my stats. I just wanted to win."
Clowney weighed 266 pounds and measured 6-foot-5 1/4 at the combine weigh-in Saturday. Potentially the first pick of the draft by the Houston Texans, his work ethic and mental makeup have been at the center of scouting scrutiny surrounding his pro potential. NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock questioned Clowney's work ethic on Saturday.