South Carolina at Arkansas – Game Week Chatter

South Carolina at Arkansas

South Carolina at Arkansas – The Razorbacks are now halfway through the tough stretch of opponents, all that are ranked and all that started the season in the top 10. The Hogs have a 13-8 advantage over the Gamecocks and in Fayetteville, the mark is 8-2 in favor of Arkansas. Both teams joined the SEC in 1992.

This is the last year the Razorbacks and Gamecocks face each as permanent, cross-division rivals.

As usual, we will update this post as the week goes along with new information about the game, so check this page often.

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UPDATE 10/11/13

FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas football team held practice Thursday inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in preparation for Saturday’s game. Head coach Bret Bielema was available to media after practice and spoke about the state of practice over the week.
“Throughout the course of the week I thought our guys locked into the game plan,” Bielema said. “We had a good Thursday practice. I really thought Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have been extremely good, focused. This time of the year when you go 3-3 after three losses you worry about their mental state or just their ability to stay engaged, and they’ve been nothing but very, very positive and very, very upbeat about the opportunity come Saturday. A Homecoming game, it’s all about Arkansas, one that I think our kids are going to be excited to play especially with the early kickoff.”
Bielema also spoke about the improvement in the passing game during practice.
“I know one of our three offensive goals this week is to be more efficient in the passing game,” Bielema said. “Right away everybody thinks that goes to throwing and catching. Well, it has a lot to do with protection. It has a lot to do with having someone not in the quarterback’s face that’s making him throw the ball earlier in a rush. It has to do with the ability for the quarterback to step through a nice window and throw the ball accurately and give the receivers a chance to catch it. I think there was steady improvement, and I’m excited to see for this Saturday.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game against South Carolina inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville is scheduled for 11:21 a.m., and the game will be available across the country on SEC TV. For a complete listing of affiliates airing this week’s game click here.

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UPDATE 10/10/13 6:00 PM

The No. 14/12 South Carolina football team returned to the Bluff Road practice fields on Thursday. The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s SEC matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2 SEC).

Junior All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney practiced for the second-straight day on Thursday after missing the Kentucky game with a strained muscle around his ribcage.

“If he’s healthy, he’s going to start,” said defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward. “He’s practiced two days in a row and I think he’s getting better every day. He’s doing everything in his power to be ready to play. I think he’ll play, based on what we’ve seen the last two days. He’s gotten better. He’s still getting a lot of treatment and he will continue to get treatment, but I think he’ll play.”

Linebacker Kaiwan Lewis has been sidelined for the past few days with an infection in his leg. “Kaiwan will play,” said Ward. “He ran eight gassers during practice to see about his conditioning, so he’ll be ready to play. We’ve got to get him caught up with what we’re doing mentally on defense, but he’ll be ready to play.”

Ward has indicated there could be some changes in the defensive personnel this week, but declined to give any specifics. “I think they’ll be some changes,” noted Ward. “I’ve got to visit with the entire defensive staff. We said we’d have to see how they practice as to who will start. We’ll make those determinations after we watch practice, but there definitely are going to be some changes.”

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From SDS South Carolina writer:

As someone who’s watched every play of the Steve Spurrier era at South Carolina, visions of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones running Hog wild past Captain Munnerlyn and the rest of the Gamecock secondary on Nov. 3, 2007, still lives in infamy as one of the most embarrassing performances against the rush in school history.

Six years later, the Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2) have a two-back tandem that could be equally as talented at season’s end, combining for 1,154 yards and seven scores through six games under the direction of coach Bret Bielema. South Carolina is in for a long afternoon should the Gamecocks miss tackles in space like they’ve done the previous three trips to Fayetteville.

Arkansas freshman Alex Collins and sophomore Jonathan Williams may not be as dynamic — yet — as their 2007 brethren, but they’ve been effective enough to provide the Razorbacks with balance alongside first-year starter Brandon Allen at quarterback. The Gamecocks’ (4-1, 2-1) only loss this season came at Georgia, a Aaron Murray-led offense fueled by a comparable 1-2 punch in its backfield.

What’s the key to South Carolina slowing down the Razorbacks’ run game? Delivering on first down up front. Whether Jadeveon Clowney plays or not is moot — the Gamecocks must find a way to limit the duo’s 6-yards per carry average with or without No. 7 on the end. Clowney’s presence would no doubt benefit South Carolina’s front seven and perhaps alter how Arkansas runs its offense, but his expertise is against the pass.

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FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas football team practiced Wednesday in continued preparation for this weekend’s Homecoming game against South Carolina. After practice, defensive coordinator Chris Ash met with the media and addressed building depth on the defensive side.

“We’ve done everything we can to build depth,” Ash said. “We’ve brought guys along and developed them so that they can be prepared when situtations arise where a player goes down. Certainly the defensive line has the most experience in terms of guys that have played.”

Ash also talked about the play of the linebacking trio of senior Jarrett Lake and juniors Braylon Mitchell and Martrell Spaight.

“Saturday, at least with our run defense, that’s probably the best they’ve played this season,” Ash said. “I think we finally found the right mix of guys. Now it’s just a matter of them playing more and more together. They’ll get better with that consistency.”

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Reports from Columbia, SC:

The No. 14/12 South Carolina football team returned to the Bluff Road practice fields on Wednesday. The Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC) are preparing for Saturday’s SEC matchup with the Arkansas Razorbacks (3-3, 0-2 SEC).

Junior All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney returned to practice on Wednesday. Clowney did not play in last week’s game against Kentucky due to a muscle strain around his ribcage.

Senior quarterback Connor Shaw has put together an outstanding season thus far, connecting on over two-thirds of his pass attempts. “He’s been pretty accurate since he’s been here,” said quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. “He threw about that for the season last year, which was a school record I believe for a season. He’s an accurate passer and he has been, and makes pretty good decisions. He’s good at getting down to his check down. While there’s sometimes where maybe he could force one in there, he doesn’t do it and that keeps us from making those plays that get you beat. He’s playing well but he needs to continue to play well.”

Mangus certainly likes Shaw’s ability to run and keep a drive alive. “That’s the thing that gets kind of lost. Everybody talks about passing percentage and this and that. But the other night, a prime example, it was third-and-nine and we’ve got a play on that has no chance and he scrambles out and goes and gets right by the first down marker, runs over a guy and gets the first down. The third down conversions when you move the chains with your feet is a disheartening feel for a defensive coordinator.”

Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott continues to sing the praises of redshirt freshman center Clayton Stadnik, who has filled in admirably with Cody Waldrop sidelined. “It’s really good (for a backup to step in with no noticeable dropoff). Anytime you lose what you have as a starter who has an injury and you put your backup in there and the guy’s unproven – he just stepped in. He was probably a little bit nervous in that Georgia game, and you didn’t see any falloff. I was really pleased with that. He played well against Georgia. He’s had three pretty quality starts. Everything he’s done has been good. He’s just a steady man right now and that’s a pretty good thing. He hasn’t played bad at all.”

Elliott indicated that Stadnik would be the likely starter again this week at Arkansas, as Waldrop did not practice on Wednesday.

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UPDATE 10/9/13

Jadeveon Clowney addresses the media about last weekend and the game Saturday in Fayetteville.

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Steve Spurrier talks about Jadeveon Clowney, how grateful he is the defensive end chose South Carolina; how much money he’s made for the school. Oh, and Spurrier also talks about the game Saturday in Fayetteville. He has trouble pronouncing Bielema’s name, but gives an interesting take on what he expects from the Razorbacks.

 

 

FAYETTEVILLE - The University of Arkansas football team continued game week preparation on Tuesday for its upcoming Homecoming game against South Carolina.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney met with the media after practice and talked about practice and their upcoming game.

“It’s another SEC game so that’s always a good thing,” Coach Chaney said. “I felt like we had a solid practice today. We implemented our game plan today and I think they grasped most of it. I thought the kids’ attitude was good and the effort level was fine. So we are comfortable with where we are at today.”

Coach Chaney commented about the offense’s determination this week.

“I addressed the offense,” Chaney said. ”Guys, when things don’t go good in your life whether its football or any other endeavor you choose to look into you have no other option but to roll up your sleeves and go back to work. So that is what we did.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against South Carolina inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville is scheduled for 11:21 a.m., and the game will be available across the country on SEC TV. For a complete listing of affiliates airing this week’s game click here.

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FAYETTEVILLE 10/8/13 - University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema met with members of the media on Monday to recap last weekend’s SEC road contest against Florida, while also looking ahead to this weekend’s matchup with South Carolina inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Bielema said that he and his staff came away encouraged by the progress being made and continued fight displayed from the Razorbacks against another top opponent in the Gators.

“Winning is a process,” Bielema said. “It’s a process to get through a four-quarter game and we’re getting there. Each week I can see games where we’re getting to where we need to be. This week gives us another opportunity and it should be a tremendous opportunity.”

The Razorbacks have continued to maintain a positive and determined mentality as they work through a stretch of four straight opponents that were ranked in the top 10 of the preseason AP poll.

“I think they’ll bounce back well,” Bielema said. “We turn the page on Sundays. We make our corrections, we come in and meet, and I kind of brought them back in for a meeting and closed the book there and moved ourselves into South Carolina mode. We’ll come back.”

Another chance for improvement and opportunity awaiting Arkansas this weekend with South Carolina visiting, Bielema and the Razorbacks expect Saturday’s game to bring out a tremendous home atmosphere.

“The kids are excited about South Carolina,” Bielema said. “It’s homecoming week. That’s something I really preach to our kids that you’re going to have a great crowd. It’s an early game, but I know they’ll show up and obviosuly South Carolina is a very good opponent. It should be a tremendous atmosphere.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against South Carolina inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville is scheduled for 11:21 a.m., and the game will be available across the country on SEC TV.

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Will Jadeveon Clowney Play Saturday?

The South Carolina All-American pulled himself from the lineup Saturday night a short time before the Gamecocks’ 35-28 victory Saturday night [against the Kentucky Wildcats], saying pain from strained muscles around his ribs was too much to bear.

It’s the latest in a season of illness, injuries and ineffectiveness for the 6-foot-6, 274 pound Clowney, who figured to dominate the game like few others in college football. Instead, Clowney has spent more time explaining why he hasn’t popped off more helmets as he did in his ESPY-winning hit of Michigan’s Vincent Smith at the Outback Bowl last New Year’s that was practically shown on a non-stop highlight reel this past offseason.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was unsure if Clowney would be ready to go against Arkansas (3-3, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) next Saturday.

Spurrier said his frustration came more from the way he learned his star defender would be out rather than him missing the game.

“Usually, the doctor or the trainer comes and tells you a guy will be out,” he said. “That did not happen last night.”

“On the other side,” Spurrier continued, “if a player’s in pain, I don’t want him to play, none of us do.”

When asked about Clowney’s commitment to the Gamecocks, Spurrier replied, “You’ll have to ask him that.”

Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward believes Clowney will show his old self at some point this season. Until Clowney returns, the Gamecocks will count on other defensive linemen to make the plays.

Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles would’ve loved to have Clowney in the lineup. “But that’s what you come to college for, when one man goes down the next one has to step up,” he said.

Spurrier hasn’t spoken to Clowney since the game, although assistant coaches have and he expects Clowney will do what he must to get ready for Arkansas.

“Hopefully, with treatment and so forth he will be well enough to play this coming week but we will see,” Spurrier said. “It’s not a big story. He was in pain, couldn’t play. We will see if he’s going to be in pain and not play or not in pain and can play this week.”

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Chris Low of ESPN’s SEC Blog writes in his weekly “Hot and Not” column this “Not” regarding South Carolina:

South Carolina’s killer instinct: The Gamecocks can’t put anybody away, and that’s bound to catch up with them, especially with three straight road games in the next three weeks starting with Arkansas on Saturday in Fayetteville. They led Kentucky 27-7 entering the fourth quarter, but hung on to win by a touchdown. It was a similar story with UCF two weeks ago after giving up two late touchdowns, and Vanderbilt stormed back from a 28-0 deficit in Columbia the third week of the season.

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Tidbits on the Gamecocks from Bleacher Report:

One man is carrying a huge workload for the Gamecocks. Mike Davis.

Davis burst onto the scene and is proving that he is one of the best running backs in college football. More specifically, Davis is turning heads in the football world with his impressive average of 6.7 yards per carry. That average is good for 33rd in the country.

South Carolina’s defense is nowhere near the level it attained last year.

The talent is there, but the execution is not. Age looks to be a factor.

So far in 2013, the Gamecocks are allowing 25.8 points per game, which is only good for 60th in the country. Compare that to last season, when South Carolina boasted the 13th-ranked scoring defense in the nation by only allowing 18.23 points per game.

Head coach Steve Spurrier has his offense racking up yardage and wearing down opposing defenses—especially on the ground with Mike Davis.

In 2013, the Gamecocks are averaging 476.4 yards of offense per game, which is good for 31st in the country. The yards are piling on and the team is also scoring points.

Spurrier’s team has been above average offensively, but this season is something different with the ability to accumulate so many yards of total offense.

This squad also has balance between its 26th-ranked rushing offense and 44th-ranked passing offense.

Remember to check this page throughout the week. We will update it regularly with chatter about Saturday’s game and practice reports.

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