Gamecocks' bowl game a final farewell for 2 stars - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Gamecocks' bowl game a final farewell for 2 stars

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WCIV) -- For many people, the night sits on the cusp of a new year, but for the Gamecocks and the Badgers, this is the eve of the Capital One Bowl.

On Tuesday, the coaches got together one final time to break down the game. The only change in the University of South Carolina's camp this conference is that fullback Connor McLaurin broke his ankle and will be replaced by the walk-on, Garrison Gist. 

The day was also spent preparing for a series of firsts and lasts.

On the first day of the new year, it will be the last time the Carolina garnet will cover the shoulders of Jadeveon Clowney. He will walk off the field at the end of the game and into the world of professional football.

"Jadeveon has done very well in bowl practice; he's 100 percent. The foot problems are gone. He needs help with driving, though. His foot is a bit heavy down there, I guess," said head coach Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier was full of zingers when talking about his defensive end, a man he fought so hard to get and now, in the blink of an eye, he will lose after his junior year.

"He's practiced well, been a very good teammate for three years. I'm wondering if he has a limo to take him out of the ballpark tomorrow or not. I'm kidding," Spurrier said.

The head coach joked that there will be so many autograph collectors that Clowney should wait until after the game so he can charge for them.

It will also be the end of the road for arguably the best man to ever take snaps at Carolina, Connor Shaw. He likely won't be an NFL quarterback, but he does have the tools to shine one more time under the college lights in a bowl game.

"He's competitive. He hurts you with his arm, legs and minds. He goes lots of miles and is productive. He's good in big time moments. You mix Spurrier and Shaw, it's a vicious weapon," said Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen. "Presnap, they get what they want. You have to execute from there. Our challenge on defense is not to let them get the play call they want."

It's been effective for the Gamecocks and Spurrier admits it.

"Hopefully Connor's running ability will be good tomorrow. He's good runner but good passer also. I tell him to throw first, then take off running. He's done very good with a few designed runs, but most plays are pure scramble plays," Spurrier said.

The Big 10 doesn't have many players like Shaw and not many guys are able to do what Shaw has done. While he may be physically challenging, the mental challenge of a bowl game is nothing for a team that's played in the last three Rose Bowls.

"If you can't get motivated for three hours together and change in this setting, national TV, the care factor for Wisconsin -- I don't believe you are a true competitor," Andersen said.

But Spurrier plans to make the game a battle.

"We have to make sure we're ready to play against a tough and physical team. We have to play our assignments. Most coaches try to plan for your own guys, give them a plan and execute it," he said.

And talk about focus, neither Clowney or Shaw have given interviews all week long.


  • Scott Eisberg

    Email: seisberg@abcnews4.com Reporter Profile




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