This time last year, Lorenzo Ward was in a new position — defensive coordinator — and talking about being more aggressive. This year, the new face in a new place is defensive line coach Deke Adams, and he’s got the same message.
Adams’ coaching style is different from that of predecessor Brad Lawing, Adams said, in that Adams wants his defensive linemen to play more in the offensive backfield instead of concentrating on holding stout at the line of scrimmage. We’ll write a lot more about this closer to the season, but what is notable to me right now is the fact that a coaching change in each of the past two seasons has amped up the aggressiveness, or at least quest for aggressiveness, of the defense.
Being more aggressive can be a double-edged sword, and the trick for the Gamecocks’ defensive linemen will be attacking more while also not leaving themselves in bad position.
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The injury bug once again is hovering around the Bluff Road practice fields. While muscle pulls and tweaks are common after an offseason of conditioning and light drills, USC is starting to see some other knocks pop up.
Nothing bad at this point, but when Jody Fuller has a bad shoulder for a couple of days and then expected starting linebacker Cedrick Cooper has his arm in a sling due to a hyperextended elbow, the worries surface about the physicality of practice.
There’s nothing wrong with the Gamecocks’ methods; it’s just an effect of playing with some younger guys who don’t know how to practice safely just yet. The hope is that only tape and bandages have to be used, instead of crutches and braces.
Video: Kirk Botkin
Video: Deke Adams