Jadeveon Clowney hasn't been the unblockable force of nature some (if not all) fans expected to see so far this season, and the Old Ball Coach has taken notice.
According to Willie Smith of The Greenville News, Steve Spurrier called out Clowney and cornerback Victor Hampton as two players who need to step up their game:
Spurrier not pleased with Clowney and Hampton saying teammates need to step up. "They're two of the guys who need to step up." #Gamecocks— Willie Smith (@willie_t_smith) October 1, 2013
South Carolina's defense has been a far cry from dominant this year, allowing 41 points in a loss at Georgia and struggling at times before edging Central Florida last week.
Even though both of those offenses are very good, the Gamecocks defensive line, which was thought to be among America's best, has failed to wreak havoc.
Through four games, Clowney—a rare defensive Heisman candidate before the season started—has only 12 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. By contrast, through four games in 2012, he had 17 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
Defensive linemen can't always be judged on their stats, as B/R's Michael Felder made explicitly clear after the Georgia game this season:
But even so, Spurrier calling out Clowney means his struggles might extend past the box score. Maybe they're starting to show up on tape or in practice.
This could just be a wake-up call or one of Spurrier's sage-like motivational tactics. But if it isn't, and he really is displeased with Clowney's performance, that needs to change as soon as possible.
South Carolina (3-1) needs to get in sync with six more SEC games and Clemson on the regular-season schedule.