Adams will demand effort from SC star Clowney

South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney won’t get any

special treatment from his new position coach.

Deke Adams said he’s continually been asked since becoming the

Gamecocks defensive line coach how he’ll handle Clowney, the

dominant, 6-foot-6 pass rusher who finished sixth in this past

year’s Heisman Trophy voting.

”I think everyone else has thought about it way more than I

have,” Adams said. ”My personality won’t change. I’ll continue to

be the person I am that got me to this point. I’ll continue to

coach hard and continue to demand perfection from my guys.”

And that includes Clowney.

That doesn’t mean that Adams, who spent last season on North

Carolina’s staff, isn’t much happier to have the junior standout on

his sideline than playing against him. The Tar Heels and Gamecocks

open next season at Williams-Brice Stadium on Aug. 31.

”That’s always a bonus,” Adams said of Clowney. ”He’s a great

kid and I’ve heard a lot of exciting things about him.”

The quick hire – Adams was named on Jan. 21, a day after

longtime South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing took a

similar position at Florida – has not left Adams much one-on-one

time with Clowney. The two talked last weekend as South Carolina

hosted several college prospects they hope to sign next week.

”I got a chance when I shook hands with him why that football

looks so small in his hands,” Adams said. ”He’s a great

athlete.”

Clowney seems poised for a special season in 2013. He closed

last year by getting 4 1-2 sacks on Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd

in the Gamecocks 27-17 victory over their state rivals, then

perhaps had the highlight of New Year’s Day with his helmet-popping

hit on Michigan runner Vincent Smith.

Adams watched the game with his sons, Jaylen and Jordan, and all

three jumped up after Clowney’s tackle.

”It was just an amazing hit,” Adams said. ”But the game is

changing so much, and it was so fast and so violent, I thought,

`OK, they’re going to throw a flag.”’

But as the hit was replayed again and again at various speeds

and camera angles, Adams marveled at the textbook hit Clowney made.

”It was perfect,” he said.

Adams was also amazed Clowney had the presence and poise to

think about the football, which was lying on the ground. Clowney

casually picked the ball up with his left hand for the fumble

recovery.

The coach saw up close last weekend how much bigger Clowney’s

hands look in person.

”When I shook hands with him, I saw why the football looked so

small in his hands,” Adams said.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier believes he and defensive

coordinator Lorenzo Ward made a perfect selection in Adams as

Lawing’s successor. Lawing was the Gamecocks coach who first

watched film of Clowney as a South Pointe High sophomore with

uncommon speed and power for someone so young.

Spurrier said he did not think the team would miss Lawing, who

spent the past seven seasons on South Carolina, with Adams on

board.

”He’s sort of my kind of coach, good family man, wonderful

personality. I think our players are really going to enjoy playing

for him,” Spurrier said.

Expectations for Clowney next season already through the roof.

Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projected Clowney as the top selection

if he were eligible this year and Spurrier’s frequently called his

standout linemen a ”three-year player.”

Adams understands it’s now his responsibility to help Clowney

live up to those projections. The best way for Clowney to achieve

all he can, Adams believes, is to work each on getting better. That

ability and work ethic will come through on the field if it’s

evident in practice, Adams said.

Adams is confident he’ll work well with Clowney.

”Oh yeah, I think we’ll have a great relationship. You can hear

in his voice he knows he can be so much better than he is right

now,” Adams said. ”That’s my goal.”