Two games into the 2012 season, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had six tackles and one sack. So those sounding the alarm about Clowney's slow production thus far this season -- exactly six tackles and one sack, once again -- could use a little perspective. But the fact that Clowney and Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier have expressed concern about the star junior's limited presence suggests both were looking for more in the early stages of this season.
After Saturday's loss to Georgia, Clowney left no doubt he wants his coaching staff to stop at nothing in search of a way to make him more disruptive. Even if that means changing positions.
"I told coach, 'Man, you've got to put me somewhere else. In the middle, if you want to. I don't know, somewhere I can make some plays and help my team, put us in position to win games,'" Clowney told reporters. "Really, they just ran the ball away from me, took me out of the game. ... It's hard out there trying to chase from the backside, and they just took me right out of the game. They want to move me around, that's up to them. I'm going to keep playing my assignments, I set the edge most of the night, the ball went away from me on the backside chasing. That's just how the game went."
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At one point, Clowney didn't sound pleased with the way his teammates rose to the challenge of Georgia's offense.
"I think I'm playing the right spot. I just can't do it by myself," he said. "You have to depend on the other guys up front, and I depend on the other guys up front."
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had a different idea, sarcastic as it may have been.
"We need to line up on the other side and put about five guys over there and anticipate they're going to run over there," Spurrier said Tuesday. "That's what we should do, but we didn't get lined up well the other day."
It remains to be seen whether this week's South Carolina opponent, Vanderbilt, designs an offensive game plan that also avoids Clowney at all costs. Clowney will also face his third consecutive quality left tackle in Vandy's Wesley Johnson. In the third game of last season, Clowney posted two sacks against UAB in a Gamecocks victory.
If he does the same against Johnson, talk of a disappointing season should come to at least a temporary halt.