South Carolina heads into the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl riding high.
The No. 11 Gamecocks just beat Clemson a fourth straight year and is on the verge of posting its second straight 11-win season after having none in its first 117 years of football, but all that can good will can vanish in a hurry, defensive line coach Brad Lawing said.
If South Carolina does not beat No. 19 Michigan in Tampa, Fla., Lawing expects everyone to forget all the highlights of the season.
We want to beat Michigan and finish this season out in a great way, Lawing said Monday after South Carolina finished its third day of bowl practice. People will remember our last game of the season. We built up a lot of good will by beating Clemson and having 10 wins, but we all know if we go out there and dont play well against Michigan, yall are going to be in here asking questions. They want to go out on a positive note so we can go into our offseason that way.
Jadeveon Clowneys 4.5 sacks against Clemson, a single-season school record, and the Gamecocks fourth straight win over the Tigers were big news all around the country, Clowney said. The sophomore defensive end has heard about it the last two weeks while traveling to Charlotte, Orlando and Houston for awards banquets.
They say, I know yall are big on them, Clowney said. I said, Yeah, we just have to beat them every year, and they will love us around here. No matter who we lose to, beat Clemson and theyll love us.
South Carolina held its third day of bowl practice on Monday night in its indoor facility due to steady rain. It was an normal day for most of the teams veterans, but it took a physical toll on the young players, Lawing said.
Its spring ball right now for all the young ones, Lawing said. It is helping some of these young guys. I have always said, Every rep is like gold, and these young guys are getting a lot of them right now. If you could go in that locker room, they are worn out. They have been beat on pretty good for two days.
Freshman running back Kendric Salley, who missed the season due to a knee injury, has practiced with the team the last two days.
Cap and gown
Six players who earned their degree this month participated in commencement Monday fullback Jacob Baker (management/marketing), defensive tackle Byron Jerideau (criminal justice), fullback Kyle Madden (criminal justice), defensive back Jared Shaw (sociology), linebacker Quin Smith (political science) and defensive end Devin Taylor (integrated information technology).