True freshman T.J. Gurley made the most of his playing time as a true freshman in the Gamecocks' season opener.
Gurley (5-10, 183), from Cairo, Ga., is listed on the depth chart as the backup to Jimmy Legree at cornerback. Against Vanderbilt, Gurley played safety in South Carolina’s dime defense package.
With his parents in the stands at Vanderbilt Stadium, Gurley heard his number called on the final play for the Commodores offense. Here's what he had to say about that and more.
First time out there as a true freshman. How did it feel?
It felt good, real good. I was comfortable. I was ready.
Are you playing corner or safety moving forward?
I’ll be playing a little corner and a little safety. I’ll be playing both.
You played safety in high school. How has it been making the move to cornerback?
It was pretty good. I played corner my 10th grade year. I did pretty good. Coach [Grady] Brown has been working with me every day, teaching me different techniques, letting me watch Vic [Hampton] and them more.
How will things be different for the defense against East Carolina?
We’re going to be ready. We just have to get the tempo, get our calls and stuff faster. They like to do fast stuff, so we have to get set up quickly.
How did you think you did against Vanderbilt?
It went a little bit well, but I’ve still got room for improvement.
How were your nerves?
I wasn’t really nervous. My parents were at the game. I was just trying to put on a show. You’ve got to grow up some time.
Talk about your reaction when that last play call came in for you to go after Jordan Rodgers.
Go make a play for the team. My eyes got big. I was ready. I timed it a little too late. I could have had a sack, but I got my chance. I’m going to try and get one this week.
What did you think about Lorenzo Ward calling for a zero blitz there?
He likes the aggressive plays. That’s how you’ve got to play. You’ve got to play aggressive. Don’t be timid and scared.
So, is your freshman year going as well as you could have imagined?
It’s a lot of responsibility. I’m in the play book hard, so I pick up stuff fast.
What does it mean to you that Ward went to you on that last play?
At the beginning, I didn’t think anything of it. When I got home I was like, ‘He called a blitz for me on fourth down. He’s got confidence in me.’
- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore, GoGamecocks