If the North Carolina Tar Heels' offensive line needed a wake-up call during Wednesday's training camp, Steve Spurrier provided it.
The South Carolina head coach said his star defensive end,
Jadeveon Clowney, will play in the two teams' season opener in Columbia, S.C., on Aug. 29. Sitting in his golf cart at the Gamecocks' practice facility on Wednesday,
Spurrier left little doubt:
"Clowney's back, full go. He looks good. He's gonna play against North Carolina," he said. "Get the word out. Tell those national media boys Clowney's back in good shape, he's back in the fold."
Clowney's status was reportedly in question after he missed Saturday's scrimmage and Monday's practice with a bruised shoulder. Though his defensive coordinator, Lorenzo Ward, said the injury was not serious, Spurrier himself raised some concerns for South Carolina fans -- and some elation amongst North Carolina fans -- by saying the Heisman hopeful could miss some time if the injury held him back too much in camp.
The 6-foot-6, 274-pound defensive end returned to practice Tuesday and, apparently, looked like his usual self -- he registered 13 sacks last season (tied for third nationally) and is projected to be the No. 1 pick in next year's NFL Draft. South Carolina will need that pass-rushing expertise against a UNC offense that finished eighth nationally in scoring last season and returns many of its key pieces.
In the end, perhaps Spurrier just wanted to throw a wrench into the preseason fold.
"All communication problems have been solved. He's back on the team in good standing," Spurrier said.