August 30, 2015

Dabo Swinney gets testy explaining D.J. Reader’s departure (VIDEO)

Dabo Swinney isn't going to say anything else about D.J. Reader.

Dabo Swinney isn’t going to say anything else about D.J. Reader.

Dabo Swinney said Tuesday that he has “no idea” when or if starting defensive tackle D.J. Reader will return to the team.  It only took a few follow up questions on the issue before Dabo had enough. Swinney shut down a question inquiring if this was a discipline issue then shut down the topic completely.

“No. This is, again, a decision he made for some personal things he’s dealing with,” Swinney said. “There’s nothing else to say, guys. I’m not going to answer any other questions about D.J. Reader. I put a statement out. Don’t ask me another question about him. I want to talk about the guys that are here on this team, period to end. …I’ve answered your questions, I’ve made a statement, there’s nothing else to say.”

Despite the fact there have been a handful of players find trouble during the offseason, Swinney said he doesn’t think it’s been a bad summer; on the contrary, he said it has been a great summer, sans a few bad apples.

This off season a total of six Clemson players have either quit, been suspended, dismissed from, or left the team for personal reasons.

“He could be our starter the entire year”: Steve Spurrier names Connor Mitch his starter (AUDIO)

Connor Mitch won the Gamecocks starting job.

Connor Mitch won the Gamecocks starting job.

Steve Spurrier is handing the keys to his offense over to redshirt sophomore quarterback Connor Mitch. Tuesday The Head Ball Coach named Mitch his starting quarterback for the opener against North Carolina. The Raleigh native edged Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia and Lorenzo Nunez for the job.

“We named Connor Mitch our starting quarterback and he can be the starter the entire year. We’re going to give him every opportunity to take the reigns and run with it. We will support him and give him every chance to be the quarterback the entire year. The competition was extremely close, but we got to make a decision and we thought we was slightly ahead maybe.”

Mitch said it was a “great feeling” to win the job and he’s looking forward to making his first start in his home state against a North Carolina team full of players he grew up with and knows.

You can listen to Spurrier and Mitch below.

AUDIO: Steve Spurrier

AUDIO: Connor Mitch

Here’s the official USC practice report:

The University of South Carolina held a two-hour workout Tuesday afternoon at the practice fields. Highlighting the afternoon was the news that South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier had named sophomore quarterback Connor Mitch the starter for the season opener on Thursday, Sept. 3 vs. North Carolina.

“Connor will have every opportunity to take the reins and run with it,” said head coach Steve Spurrier. “The competition was extremely close but we had to make a decision. We will give him all the support we can. As long as he takes care of the ball, keeps his head calm, he very easily could be the quarterback the entire year. I felt like he was slightly ahead of the other guys. The other guys were pretty close. What the competition has done is get two other guys ready to play. If (Connor) sprains his ankle or can’t play we will be in good hands with Perry (Orth) or Michael (Scarnecchia), and also Lorenzo (Nunez), he is capable of playing a bit.”

This will be Mitch’s first career start in a Gamecock uniform. Mitch played last season in two games as a redshirt freshman and connected on 2-for-6 passes for 19 yards in limited duty. Mitch shared co-Freshman Most Improved honors for the offense this past spring with tight end Jacob August.

“I have to win (the starting spot) every day,” said Mitch. “Coach Spurrier said if I keep moving the ball, don’t make mistakes, don’t turn it over, obviously I can keep leading the team. I (have to go) and do that.”

Those who did not participate in Tuesday’s practice included safety Antoine Wilder (right knee sprain), tight end Connor Redmond (back), kicker Joseph Charlton (back) and quarterback Gage Pucci (knee). The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields Wednesday afternoon at 4:15 p.m.




SEC Coaches really like Pharoh Cooper

Pharoh Cooper

Pharoh Cooper

University of South Carolina junior standout Pharoh Cooper earned three spots on the All-SEC first-team, as the annual preseason Coaches’ All-SEC football squads were announced today.

Cooper, a 5-11, 207-pounder from Havelock, N.C., was named to the first team unit as a wide receiver, as the all-purpose back and as the return specialist. Cooper is coming off a breakout season in which he earned first-team All-SEC honors as a wide receiver and was a second-team pick as an all-purpose back. He finished third in the SEC in receptions (69), second in receiving yards (1,136) and receiving yards per game (87.4), fourth in receptions per game (5.3) and ninth in all-purpose yards per game (108.5).

Cooper has previously been named to the 2015 watch lists for the Biletnikoff, Maxwell and Hornung awards. Earlier this summer, Cooper was selected as a first-team preseason All-SEC all-purpose back and was a second-team selection as both a wide receiver and return specialist by the media at SEC Media Days.

Senior offensive tackle Brandon Shell and junior placekicker Elliott Fry were named to the All-SEC third team by the league’s 14 coaches.

Shell, a 6-6, 328-pounder from Goose Creek, S.C., is the most experienced offensive lineman on the squad, as he has made 36 starts over the past three seasons, the most on the team. A two-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll, Shell was also a preseason third-team All-SEC pick by the media.

Last season Fry, a Groza Award semifinalist, connected on 18-of-25 field goals, ranked third in the SEC with 105 points, the third-highest single-season mark in school history, and was fifth in in the SEC in points per game at 8.1. The 6-0, 164-pound junior from Frisco, Texas has hit on 33-of-43 career field goal attempts and on 105-of-106 extra points, including his last 99 in a row, a school record. Fry is on the 2015 Groza preseason watch list, was nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and was a second-team preseason All-SEC selection by the media. He was also a member of the 2014 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

The SEC begins its 2015 season on Thursday, September 3, when South Carolina faces North Carolina in Charlotte at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN.

2015 Preseason Coaches All-SEC Football Teams (* – ties)


First Team Preseason All-SEC


TE – Evan Engram, Ole Miss

OL – Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss

Vadal Alexander, LSU

Cam Robinson, Alabama

John Theus, Georgia

C –   Mike Matthews, Texas A&M

WR – Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina

Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

QB – Dak Prescott, Mississippi State

RB – Nick Chubb, Georgia

Leonard Fournette, LSU

AP – Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina    


DL – Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Robert Nkemdiche, Ole Miss

A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama

Chris Jones, Mississippi State

LB – Reggie Ragland, Alabama

Curt Maggitt, Tennessee

Jordan Jenkins, Georgia

DB – Vernon Hargreaves, Florida

Cyrus Jones, Alabama

Jalen Mills, LSU

Jonathan Jones, Auburn


PK – Marshall Morgan, Georgia

P – JK Scott, Alabama

RS – Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina


Second Team Preseason All-SEC


TE – Hunter Henry, Arkansas

OL – Dan Skipper, Arkansas

Greg Pyke, Georgia

Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M

Denver Kirkland, Arkansas

C – Ryan Kelly, Alabama

WR – D’haquille Williams, Auburn

Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

QB – Maty Mauk, Missouri

RB – Derrick Henry, Alabama

Alex Collins, Arkansas

AP – Leonard Fournette, LSU


DL – Jonathan Bullard, Florida

Derek Barnett, Tennessee

Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Montravius Adams, Auburn

LB – Antonio Morrison, Florida

Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

Kendell Beckwith, LSU

DB – Will Redmond, Mississippi State

Tre’Davious White, LSU

Cameron Sutton, Tennessee

Tony Conner, Ole Miss


PK – Austin MacGinnis, Kentucky

P – Jamie Keehn, LSU

RS – Leonard Fournette, LSU *

Isaiah McKenzie, Georgia *

Third Team Preseason All-SEC


TE – O.J. Howard, Alabama

OL – Alex Kozan, Auburn

Sebastian Tretola, Arkansas

Devonte Danzey, Auburn

Jordan Swindle, Kentucky *

Brandon Shell, South Carolina *

C – Evan Boehm, Missouri

WR – Demarcus Robinson, Florida *

Travin Dural, LSU *

Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M *

QB – Jeremy Johnson, Auburn *

Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee *

RB – Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

Russell Hansbrough, Missouri

Kelvin Taylor, Florida

AP – Speedy Noil, Texas A&M


DL – Carl Lawson, Auburn

Davon Godchaux, LSU

Caleb Azubike, Vanderbilt

Ryan Brown, Mississippi State

LB – Leonard Floyd, Georgia

Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn

Lorenzo Carter, Georgia

DB – A.J. Stamps, Kentucky

Rohan Gaines, Arkansas

Trae Elston, Ole Miss

Johnathan Ford, Auburn

Eddie Jackson, Alabama


PK – Elliott Fry, South Carolina

P – Drew Kaser, Texas A&M

RS – Darrius Sims, Vanderbilt

Speedy Noil, Texas A&M

Tigers turning the page to Wofford (VIDEO)

Deshaun Watson at Monday's press conference

Deshaun Watson at Monday’s press conference

Clemson has turned its full attention to preparation for the season opener against Wofford September 5th.  The Tigers had their final full scale camp scrimmage last week and the coaches have a good feeling for who is ready to play, and who is not.

Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said Monday running  back Adam Choice, who is coming off an ACL injury, is one who is not ready to play and will be redshirted.

Elliott and several Tiger players, including quarterback Deshaun Watson, met with the media Monday morning.

[Read more…]

Clemson starts out 12th in AP poll; USC not ranked but five Gamecock opponents are

Clemson is 12th in the AP poll.

Clemson is 12th in the AP poll.

Clemson is 12th in the AP’s preseason top 25 poll that was released Sunday afternoon. The Tigers are the second highest ranked ACC team, behind 10th ranked Florida State. 16th ranked Georgia Tech is the only other ACC team ranked.

Among the opponents on Clemson’s schedule that are ranked; the 10th ranked Seminoles, #11 Notre Dame and the aforementioned 16th ranked Yellow Jackets.

South Carolina is not ranked but a lot of the teams they will face this season are. Georgia is 9th in the poll, Clemson 12th, LSU 14th, Mizzou 24th, and Tennessee 25th.

Ohio State, TCU and Alabama are the top three teams in the poll.