Practice report: Wisconsin ground game concerns USC defense

USC practices; Hampton eyes NFL move

jkendall@thestate.comDecember 17, 2013 

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com

There won’t be a lot of trickery when South Carolina and Wisconsin meet in the Capital One Bowl.

If the No. 8 Gamecocks stop the run, they’ll win. If they don’t, the No. 19 Badgers will win. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney thinks they will.

“I think we are going to go out there and do well and stop the run and win the game,” Clowney said Tuesday after the Gamecocks’ practice.

The Badgers have the nation’s eighth-best running game with two backs — Melvin Gordon and James White — who have amassed more than 1,300 yards each on the ground. Wisconsin is averaging 283 rushing yards per game.

“That’s what Big Ten football is all about — big physical guys coming off the ball and road-grading people. So that’s what they are known for,” South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles said.

Quarles compared Wisconsin’s running game to the 2012 LSU team. Clowney thinks the Badgers’ offense looks a lot like Arkansas, which makes sense because Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema coached the Badgers last year.

“We are ready for it,” Quarles said. “We have played teams that run the ball week in and week out.”

The Gamecocks have the country’s No. 32 rushing defense (second in the SEC) and are allowing 142.3 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin has played two ranked teams this season and averaged 167 rushing yards in those games.

“I feel like if we go out there focused and play the scheme, we are going to be perfectly fine,” Quarles said.

Back to work

Tuesday was South Carolina’s first practice of its bowl mini-camp. The Gamecocks will practice every day through Sunday and then break for the holidays before reconvening in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 26.

“I felt like we came out here with a purpose today,” Quarles said. “Usually when you come out for bowl practice it’s a lot of goofing off and playing around, but we came out here and we took care of business.”

The Gamecocks are coming off their second straight 10-2 regular season.

“We celebrated a little longer for the Clemson win, but that’s because we didn’t have a game the next week,” Hampton said. “It felt good to get back out here.”

Hampton’s future

Junior cornerback Victor Hampton still plans to enter the NFL draft following the Capital One Bowl, but those plans aren’t set in stone, he said Tuesday. Hampton has submitted paperwork to the NFL’s underclassmen advisory committee asking for his draft potential.

“If something comes back and it’s not what I like, then I can come back to school,” he said. “If it’s first round, second round, then sorry guys, but if it’s third or fourth I will have to sit down and really think about that decision.”

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