It appears South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier’s gift of gab is rubbing off on his players — perhaps in a way that even Spurrier wouldn’t endorse.
According to news accounts, Gamecock defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and another player threatened LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger before Saturday night’s game in Baton Rouge.
From the Shreveport News:
“We’re coming for you, 8,” a South Carolina player told Mettenberger, who wears No. 8.
“You’re not going to make it through the game,” South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said.
“The little guy didn’t have his jersey on, but he was a player – probably a defensive back,” Mettenberger said.
The incident provided added incentive for LSU’s offensive line, which held the Gamecocks to one sack and Clowney, the SEC leader, to none.
“The player was Clowney and a defensive back. They were right out here when I went out to do warm-ups,” Mettenberger said while in the LSU locker room, just a few feet from the field. “They definitely had a few choice words to say to me, but I’m guessing they’re looking dumb right now with the loss on their record. Obviously, it didn’t work out for them too well.
“I was protected very well for most of the night,” Mettenberger said. “We had a great game plan. They wanted me to get the ball quick out of my hands because they had a great defensive line.”
LSU’s left tackle, Josh Dworaczyk, told the News that Clowney’s threat motivated him to play even harder:
“Well, before the game, I don’t know if you heard this or not, but one of the guys from their team went up to Zach and told him that he was going to make sure that he didn’t finish the game,” said Dworaczyk. “And to me, that’s emotional. The coaches heard. Some players heard it,” Dworaczyk said. “I don’t know who it was, but it was a defensive guy. And so when that comes into this locker room …”
“I’m getting fired up just thinking about it now because Zach’s one of my best friends,” he said. “And when you hear that, it elevates your game that much more. It’s always your job to keep a quarterback clean, but when the threat comes out there, you step up and protect your quarterback with everything that you got. And I think our offensive line, backs and tight ends did a great job the entire night of doing that. And Zach was able to back cleanly and throw passes, and we’re a deadly offense when we can do that.”
If Clowney’s intent was to intimidate LSU, it didn’t work. The Tigers handed the Gamecocks their first defeat, 23-21, and were ranked no. 6 in the first BCS rankings released Sunday. South Carolina is no. 7.
As for Spurrier’s game week wisecracks about the two Death Valley’s, he got that thrown back in his face, even though the joke was aimed at Clemson.
“That was Death Valley,” LSU coach Les Miles said after the game. “That was the place where opponents’ dreams come to die — and it was spectacular.”