COLUMBIA, S.C. —
“I don’t really know if it matters if I’m tired of talking about him because I know it’s going to be a big deal,” Hurst said. “It just keeps reminding me of how big of a deal it is, so it’s probably a good thing.”
Well, there’s Clowney: Clowney kept astounding teammates throughout the offseason. He ran a 4.46 second time in the 40 yard dash. He toppled a two-man tackling sled with linemate Gerald Dixon. And here’s a scary proposition — Clowney says he’s in the best shape of his life. “I used to get tired last year during games a lot. Now, I just got myself really in shape. That’s all it was. I am not worried about my game, because my game was all right last year. I was just out of shape last year.” Out-of-shape Clowney had 13 sacks and was the SEC’s defensive player of the year.
North Carolina’s Renner: Tar Heels quarterback Bryn Renner could be the best offensive player on the field. He’s thrown 52 touchdown passes the past two years and believes he’s more adept at running coach Larry Fedora’s high-speed offense. Renner hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 91 attempts.
ACC meets SEC:South Carolina has had its way with ACC opponents since Steve Spurrier arrived after the 2004 season. The Gamecocks have won four straight in the Palmetto State rivalry series. The Gamecocks have gone 8-4 against ACC teams in Spurrier’s eight previous seasons.
New faces in the backfield:Both teams have to break in new tailbacks. South Carolina sophomore Mike Davis, the brother of former Clemson 1,000-yard rusher James Davis, will get first crack at taking over for Marcus Lattimore. Sophomore Romar Morris is atop the depth chart for the Tar Heels after two-time 1,000-yard rusher Giovani Bernard left for the NFL.