COLUMBIA – Steve Spurrier still loves to beat North Carolina. He’ll get another chance when the sixth-ranked Gamecocks will get another chance Thursday night when they open the season against the Tar Heels.
Spurrier got his college football coaching start at Duke in 1987 and won all three meetings with rival North Carolina before moving on to become Florida’s head coach. Spurrier has always been grateful that Duke gave him the chance to coach and said Sunday that it’s still special when he faces the Tar Heels.
Spurrier has won 20 straight openers, including all eight since joining the Gamecocks. If Spurrier continues the streak, count on All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney to play a big role.
Spurrier says Clowney has had a strong camp and is ready to go.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/spurrier-ready-for-north-carolina/
CHAPEL HILL — Less than one week remains before one of the most anticipated college football openers in Tar Heel recent memory. Head Coach Fedora met with the media on Friday to discuss the state of his team as they get set for their match-up at South Carolina.
Coach Fedora says he believes one of the keys to the game will be his defense’s ability to stop the big, explosive plays. And he says he’s seen a marked improvement in that category in the preseason practices.
“I have seen improvement, and we have worked extensively on tackling in the open field. […] If you don’t make that tackle, it becomes a big play,” Fedora says.
On the offensive side of the ball, Coach Fedora says freshman Ryan Switzer’s versatility opens up the playbook.
“Ryan is unique because he’s played in the backfield, and now he’s learned the slot. He’s a guy you can do multiple things with. He can actually run the ball from the backfield or he can be out at a receiver spot running routes,” Coach Fedora says.
Coach Fedora identified South Carolina’s Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney as the best defensive player he has ever had to game plan against. And that’s high marks coming from him, as Coach Fedora says he has faced the legendary NFL star Brian Urlacher.
South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier has a couple dual threat quarterbacks at his disposal, and Coach Fedora says that makes the Gamecocks offense tricky.
“I don’t think they’re afraid to play either one of them. Both of them can throw the football, and both of them can run. […] That’s always a concern,” Fedora says.
Tar Heel defensive end Kareem Martin was on hand Friday as well, and he says the greater comfort level with the defensive schemes will lead to improvement from last season.
“This year, we’ve had a whole offseason with the playbook. We’ve had a lot of extra film sessions. There is a lot more confidence going around of what to do,” Martin says.
Martin says he is fired up about the upcoming battle of the Carolinas and says his team is ready to shine and show the nation what North Carolina is made of.
“Being able to start on such a big stage is always great. It gets to show the nation what UNC football is all about. We’ve been working really hard knowing we’re going to be on this big stage. We’re going there not to disappoint,” Martin says.http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/border-battle-poised-for-tar-heels/
Photo courtesy of Guardian Express
COLUMBIA – South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier may have been trying to send a message to his star defender, Jadeveon Clowney, when telling the media Monday that he could sit out the North Carolina game if he doesn’t return to practice soon.
According to NBC Sports, Clowney has been in and out of practice due to a shoulder injury, and previously a knee injury.
After Monday’s practice, Spurrier told the media, “if (Clowney’s shoulder) doesn’t come around real soon, we may play without him the first game.” He went on to mention that a number of players “act like they are really hurt” and that he’ll “handle those guys.”
With less than three weeks to kickoff, Tar Heel fans will likely be keeping an eye on No. 7 and the amount of time he’s able to practice.http://chapelboro.com/sports/collegiate/south-carolinas-clowney-may-sit-out-season-opener/
It’s finally here ladies and gentlemen…. the last game of the 2012 University of North Carolina football season. Wow, this season has absolutely flown by and, for me; this is when depression sets in. After Saturday, the countdown begins to the opening kickoff of the 2013 season (August 31, 2013) in Columbia, South Carolina. That’s right – 279 days till the flagship school of South Carolina and the Ole’ Ball Coach Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks take on the flagship school of North Carolina. And if you’re like me, you will be counting down every one of those 279 days through national signing day, spring practice, summer workouts, ACC media day and the pigskin luncheon.
With that being said though, this has been a long and winding road for this group of seniors who have lived through 2 ½ years of an emotional roller coaster of change. Not many college football players can say they lived (and endured) through two head coaches, an academic fraud scandal, NCAA sanctions, scrutiny from peers, University faculty and officials, and constant negativity from local fan bases and major local media outlets in particular the Raleigh News & Observer. Within all of this adversity, a group of young men were truly developing before our very eyes not only on the field, but in the community as well (see last week’s column about Jonathan Cooper and Gentle Giants http://chapelboro.com/Gentle-Giants/14110127?pid=278297 ). These seniors have become valuable members of the University community and, despite the controversy that has surrounded their tenure here, will be remembered with fondness and distinction in Chapel Hill.
With the new hiring of Coach Fedora this past December and the reality that the 2012 Tar Heels would not be eligible for post season play, our football program was at a crossroads. All players had the right to transfer to a different University without sitting out a year and a special group of Tar Heel seniors led by Kevin Reddick decided to make a stand and finish what they had started. When Coach Fedora laid out the options to his Seniors during a meeting, Reddick was one of the first to address the possibility of leaving. “After we told the seniors, ‘Hey, you guys can leave if you want. You can do whatever you want,’ “Coach Fedora said.” Kevin was the first one to stand up and say, ‘I’m not going anywhere. We’re going to have a great season here next year.’ ” This shows the kind of character that is instilled in these young men not only by this University but also by the role models who have molded these athletes from prospects to lettermen. The parents, guardians, mentors, pop warner coaches, teachers and counselors all deserve credit for helping to make a forgettable situation a positive and something that the entire program can – and will – build on.
The reason why I bring this up is because Saturday will be the last time that the majority of these seniors will ever play the game of football and ever be a part of a family atmosphere and brotherhood like the one at UNC. I was fortunate enough to get to experience two Senior days (due to a medical hardship) so I know exactly what these guys are going through this week. The week will fly by and the players will experience a sense of loss as they experience everyday moments for the last time – the last Monday practice, the last game plan meeting, the last Tuesday lift session, the last time out with the guys for the weekly dinners. And as they walk through the tunnel and hear the final roar of the crowd and run through the smoke, they will remember back to the day four or five years ago when they first walked through the tunnel with the magic of college football and Kenan stadium awaiting, and they’ll feel as if it passed in the blink of an eye.
As hard as it is for the players to know that the end is near, sometimes the parents or guardians take it that much harder. They have supported and fostered the growth of this player from the days when he couldn’t tie his own cleats to now seeing him play for the last time. Maybe this player achieved his goals and lived up to his potential and maybe he didn’t. Either way, the end is here and it’s a sobering time for all involved. What I hope comes out of this last Saturday and what I think we’ll see is two things:
Please make sure to tune in one hour after the final whistle to 97.9FM to listen to more post game coverage with Paul Connell and myself on “ON THE HEELS.”
Smart. Fast. Physical. Happy Thanksgiving!!!http://chapelboro.com/the-players-perspective/the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel/
The Horned Frogs from Forth Worth in the Big East? Sounds like a perfect time for Patterson to go elsewhere.
Eric Hyman Gary Patterson