Modern football offenses have a lot of ways to make life difficult on defenses.
Teams that play fast put a premium on getting aligned, staying simple and matching up in a sped-up game. Teams that don’t will move players around, keeping with the same personnel and shifting and moving pieces to different spots to keep a defense off-balance.
South Carolina’s defense in 2017 will have its own range of looks it can throw back to keep offensives guessing.
“We mix it around a lot,” sophomore linebacker T.J. Brunson said. “We have a 4-3, 3-4, we mix it around a lot just depending on what coach (Travaris Robinson) wants to do.”
Robinson said the team is installing a wide range of looks and schemes in camp because it will need them throughout the season. Brunson said that helped both in figuring out what the Gamecocks can do and what change-ups they’ll need.
USC ran a lot of looks with five defensive backs and four defensive linemen in 2016, but they have a few players who can function in multiple ways. The nickel corners can lean toward coverage or run support, and sometimes get replaced by linebackers. The Buck defensive end often played standing and did the things a linebacker could, dropping into coverage or pressing some receivers on the outside.
The Gamecocks will be tasked with handling a range of offenses in 2017. Missouri and Louisiana Tech are high-flying spreads. Kentucky, Arkansas and Georgia all go ground-and-pound in different ways. N.C. State is its own sort of curveball, and Wofford will throw the wrench of an option opponent in the late going.
“We play a bunch of different teams,” Robinson said. “We’ve got some two-back teams, we’ve got some spread teams and we play them a bunch early. You look at N.C. State, who is shifting around and doing a bunch of stuff like that. We’ve got to do a great job of having a game plan for each team and each week.”