Top 5 College Football Rules To Stop South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney
The Five Clowney Commandments
So, is Jadeveon Clowney the greatest athlete to ever play college football? It is pretty clear Steve Spurrier thinks he is the greatest player he has ever coached in his time with the South Carolina Gamecocks. But is he the greatest ever?
There is no doubt that the 2012 season and the past eight months have done a lot to back up this claim and has created an almost mythical creature that will be wreaking havoc in and around the SEC this fall.
But is he unstoppable? Is Clowney as great as he thinks he is? Is there an antidote for his sick play on the field?
The answer is yes.
Much like the Detroit Pistons devised the Jordan Rules to stop the freak that was Michael Jordan in the 1990s, there is a formula to counteract Clowney’s dominating skills - a simple few ways to slow down the future No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft that we will call the Five Clowney Commandments.
This idea was formulated in the shower one morning. That is pretty much where all of this sportswriter's great epiphanies are formulated. But to test the theory, the expertise of former college football players, high school and college coaches and general x and o gurus were challenged with two questions.
First, do you see any weakness in Clowney’s game?
Second, what would you do to counteract his talents?
And for the most part everyone, in one way or another, strengthened the theory to the point where it is time to officially test the findings.
So if you are a fan or have close connections with the North Carolina Tar Heels or the Georgia Bulldogs, you probably want to get this into Larry Fedora or Mark Richt’s hands as soon as you possible can.
There are two things for sure when it comes to Clowney in 2013. He will be the main focus of every team he faces, and his legend will become either mythical, or he will be prove to be just another solid football player on defense who can’t single-handedly control a game.
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No. 5 Clowney Commandments - Thou Shalt Run Right at Him
That's right. Don't be afraid of what Jadeveon Clowney can do. Let him be Clowney because you can't ethically attempt to alter the athlete he is on the defense. Every player wants the challenge of playing the best. Clowney will get a chance to face some elite, NFL-caliber quarterbacks, running backs and offensive linemen this season. So it is just not a one-way street here.
And with the talent Clowney will face, the best way to counteract his greatness is to run right at him. Every team the South Carolina Gamecocks will line up against will have multiple talented running backs. These backs need to understand that Clowney will win most every battle early, but come the third and fourth quarter, the amount of action the defensive end will see will wear him down.
Could this plan backfire? Sure. But if you establish the fact you are going to take him head-on, his fellow defenders will begin to cheat closer into his area on the field, leaving the Gamecocks vulnerable for a big play somewhere else on the field.
Like folks started to do with Jordan, let Clowney get his tackles and let his teammates get comfortable in watching him do all the work, and then strike when the time is right.
No. 4 Clowney Commandments - Thou Shalt Live and Die by the Play-Action Pass
So it has been established to first of all run right at Jadeveon Clowney.
The next step is to establish the play-action pass and use it often.
Any normal game plan on offense wants to create misdirection and confusion where the defense finds itself flat-footed for a second. Nothing does this better than a great play-action decoy by the quarterback, and Clowney will face some of the best quarterbacks college football has to offer in 2013.
In other wordse, let Clowney buy into his own greatness and attack him directly. Make that play-action go right in his direction. Having to change directions constantly will eventually wear him out as well.
No. 3 Clowney Commandment - Thou Shalt Do Something Different
Most every team Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks will face in 2013 has a lot of history with Steve Spurrier. Take into account that Spurrier might be the best X and O’s coach in the SEC behind only Nick Saban, and there is a lot of confidence when it comes to game preparation.
Now this is not saying that a bunch of Les Miles trick plays are going to be the key in stopping Clowney, but more along the lines of game planning and being prepared to execute some things well that you normally don’t do but have the personnel to do it.
This could be anything. Use your depth at positions. Let your tight ends block more. Get Clowney in one-on-one matchups on the outside with your most talented player. The options are unlimited because each team the Gamecocks will play will have specific and special players and talents.
South Carolina has the ability to win the SEC and the BCS this year. Don’t make it easier on Clowney to be even more dominant than he already is by running the same old, stale game plan out there that you have ran against Spurrier and the Gamecocks for 15 years.
No. 2 Clowney Commandment - Thou Shalt Run Quick Screens
The best way to counteract a talent like Jadeveon Clowney is to not give him time to pin his ears back when in a shotgun or pistol set. It has been established that teams should run at him to wear him down. It has been established for teams to use the run to set up the play-action to put him on skates, so he cannot build momentum. Now it is time to put Clowney back on his heels a bit.
Clowney’s instincts are just as phenomenal as his god-given athletic ability. So take his greatness and use it to your advantage as an offensive coordinator. Clowney has shown that he does have some issues in breaking away from a sustained blocking. Some folks have even stated that Clowney likes to take some plays off and that is why he doesn’t get away from those tackles. Not that he can’t -- more that he just doesn’t want to at that moment.
So take that and run some quick screens in the direction of Clowney and that sustained block. Add a swivel to his head along with those skates on his feet. For this to be done, the offensive line will have to play at a great level with multiple players taking on the Clowney assignment.
No. 1 Clowney Commandment - Thou Shalt Use Your Tight End
It is a fact that Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks will face some of the best tight ends in all of college football, especially early with games to open the season at home versus the North Carolina Tar Heels, and in Week 2 on the road against the Georgia Bulldogs.
Both the Tar Heels and the Bulldogs have a solid and talented leader at the TE position in Eric Ebron and Arthur Lynch that can match up athletically with Clowney. Plus, both Carolina and Georgia has a lot of talented depth to run multiple looks at the great Clowney with multiple tight ends.
This will be something different Clowney will see that Steve Spurrier has not game planned. Both UNC and UGA typically block Clowney with a running back or fullback while the TE is working a mismatch with a linebacker or corner. Let the tight end sustain a block on Clowney while the running back or fullback releases on a wheel or seam play. It's a part of the playbook North Carolina, Georgia and every team has but only uses a few times a game. Make it more of an option from multiple looks out of play-action or any set.
As you do this throughout the game, it does create the ability to get Clowney in one-on-one matchups with the tight end. The more you get Clowney on his side of the defensive line or turning to run after a tackle, the more likely the chance he will be gassed come the fourth quarter.
Only time will tell on how great Clowney can be. But whether he is human or really a man from another planet of football gods will be determined by these Clowney Commandments and how the great talent responds to his challenges in 2013.