Notebook: Clowney draws Hogs’ attention

Ward happy with how defense handled Arkansas passing attack

jkendall@thestate.comNovember 10, 2012 

Jadeveon Clowney got one sack and drew one holding call Saturday against Arkansas. He was thrilled to get each.

“I get frustrated all the time, but I know that ain’t a call anymore in this league,” Clowney said of holding. “They have to tackle you down to the ground before the officials call a hold.”

Clowney’s sack, which was one of two tackles for loss, gave him 9.5 on the season, one short of holding the school’s single-season record by himself.

“One time he came over to the sideline and said, ‘Coach they have five guys on me,’ ” defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said. “I said, ‘Good that means somebody else is free.’ They had a plan for him, and that’s what everybody is going to do. I told him if he’s going to wait to get some one-on-one blocking, he’s probably going to have to wait until he gets to the NFL two years from now.”

Swapping strategies

In his first game against Arkansas as a defensive coordinator, Lorenzo Ward knew exactly what he wanted to do.

“I felt like if we had played more zone coverage in the past, we would have had a better chance of beating Arkansas,” Ward said. “Coach (Bobby) Petrino’s system is set up to beat man to man. If you watch the teams that have played well against Arkansas this season, they have played zone defense. For whatever reason in the past, we didn’t do that.”

In the three previous seasons, Ward assisted coordinator Ellis Johnson with the defense. Arkansas threw for 277 yards but scored just one touchdown before the final minute of the game.

“We have to continue to get better, but I am proud of the way they played,” Ward said.

Shifting secondary

Ward was pleased with his experiment of playing D.J. Swearinger at cornerback, DeVonte Holloman at safety and Damario Jeffery at spur, although Holloman will go back to spur next week against Wofford because the Terriers run the ball on almost every play.

Swearinger’s start bumped Jimmy Legree from the starting lineup, and Legree was passed up during the game by senior Akeem Auguste, who returned from a groin injury.

“Jimmy just has to tackle in the perimeter,” Ward said. “We’ve got confidence in Jimmy. Jimmy has helped us win eight ball games so far, and he is going to help us win some more. He just has to make sure he comes under control when they put him in one-on-one situations and tackle.”

Free food

Coach Steve Spurrier wasn’t thrilled with his team’s running game, but he was happy the Gamecocks at least topped 100 yards, which qualified everyone in attendance for a free sandwich from Rush’s. The Gamecocks rushed for 104 yards on 41 carries.

“Did we get 100 yards rushing? Oh, OK, so everybody got their free hamburger? We were worried about that,” he said. “Somebody said, ‘We’re on that borderline, don’t lose it.’ ”

South Carolina averaged 2.5 yards per carry.

We have to “try to get somebody to block a little bit better,” Spurrier said. “We had a couple we had a chance to break that we didn’t. We don’t get a lot of long runs around here.”

Extra points

... The victory left Spurrier one win short of the school’s all-time record. He would tie Rex Enright with 64 victories at the school if South Carolina beats Wofford next Saturday.

... Tight end Jerell Adams scored his first career touchdown on a 29-yard catch. “I could have caught that one Jerell caught,” Spurrier said. “They played two deep and screwed up their coverage pretty well.”

... Gamecock and NFL veterans Troy Williamson, Sheldon Brown, Travelle Wharton and Andre Goodman attended Saturday’s game and were recognized on the field in the second quarter.

... The Gamecocks reported no injuries after the game.

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