John Clay: Clowney's decision to sit out UK game raises some eyebrows

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistOctober 8, 2013 

Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow was sacked by South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in September 2012 as the Gamecocks defeated Kentucky 38-17. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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Random notes:

■ Lot of talk about Jadeveon Clowney and the fact South Carolina's star defensive end jumped up at the last second Saturday night and told Steve Spurrier he would not be able to play against Kentucky.

Clowney had been cleared to play after missing some practice time because of sore ribs.

Is he protecting himself for the NFL Draft, where he is likely to be the No. 1 pick?

■ Compare Clowney to Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who played through wrist and ankle injuries last season and could also end up being the No. 1 pick next year.

■ Meanwhile, South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw led the Gamecocks to the win over Kentucky despite badly bruising his shoulder the week before at Central Florida.

■ Kelly Oubre, the 6-foot-7 forward ranked in the top 20 by most recruiting services, picked Kansas over Kentucky on Tuesday, leading more observers to predict UK's string of No. 1 recruiting classes will finally end in 2014.

■ UK defensive end Jason Hatcher will be a star.

■ So I guess whoever called me about the head football coach's job at Southern Cal wasn't real?

■ Over the last two games, Kentucky football has forced one punt, which may have more to do with the quality of the opposition than the play of the defense.

The rash of injuries at Georgia is unbelievable. Tailback Keith Marshall and wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley tore ACLs last week at Tennessee and are out for the season.

This comes after wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL in the season opener against Clemson and is out for the season.

Meanwhile, tailback Todd Gurley continues to be sidelined with an ankle issue.

And Georgia is still 4-1 with a 3-0 SEC record.

Yes, coaching makes a difference. Ask LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Since Les Miles hired Cam Cameron as his offensive coordinator, Mettenberger has played like an NFL quarterback.

Saturday vs. Mississippi State, Mettenberger completed 25 of 29 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns.

I used to remember when people said Peyton Manning had "happy feet" and it wasn't a compliment.

Q: Name the three Kentucky coaches to beat top-ranked teams?

A: Bear Bryant, who beat Oklahoma in the 1950 Sugar Bowl. Charlie Bradshaw, who beat No. 1 Ole Miss in 1964. And Rich Brooks, who beat top-ranked LSU in overtime in 2007.

The last two times UK has played the AP No. 1 — Florida in 2009 and LSU in 2011 — UK was outscored a combined 76-14.

When it is third-and-two or less, Kentucky has converted six of 11 third downs on the season (54.5 percent), which isn't great. When it is third-and-three or more, UK has converted 16 of 50 (32 percent).

■ Former UK great Steve Meilinger had the media in stitches on Monday talking about britches. At Mark Stoops' press luncheon, Meilinger talked to the media about his upcoming induction into the National Football Federation Hall of Fame.

■ A Pennsylvania native, Meilinger played for UK under Bear Bryant in the early 1950s and said he had never heard of the term "britches" before coming to Lexington and someone told him he would buy the football player a couple of pair of britches.

Later, Meilinger was asked by investigators if he ever received anything such as clothing at Kentucky?

"Good old Catholic boy I am, I never told a lie until then," Meilinger said.

At his weekly press conference on Monday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban joked that at times his wife, Terry, makes suggestions about what the football team should be doing.

Reminds me of the old joke: "Behind every successful man is a good woman, telling him he's doing it all wrong."

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com.

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