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
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
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
”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.”