David Cloninger

Camp Insider: Counting ways the USC defense will be improved

The line across the national landscape is that South Carolina’s defense has to be better in 2015. Steve Spurrier said what many of us have.

“Obviously, we can’t play much worse,” he said on Thursday. “We got nowhere to go but up.”

How will it work? Did Jon Hoke bring dynamic different schemes, or is the personnel simply that much more talented?

We won’t know until Sept. 3, when the Gamecocks take the field against a veteran North Carolina offense featuring a record-setting quarterback as director.

What’s already changed, Hoke and players said, is the attitude. All of the defensive players, old and new, realize that last year was unacceptable. So they’re changing it from the ground up.

“We just got to show effort. If there’s anything we want to be No. 1 in, it’s effort,” linebacker Jonathan Walton said. “We’re running to the ball, we’re doing things that we didn’t do last year. I think we noticed it and so does everybody else.”

Hoke has been quiet about specific schemes, guys that need to be playmakers, etc. It’s all about the team, uniting them under one goal – to be better. It was telling when I asked if a guy like Walton or Skai Moore was the leader of the defense.

Hoke’s answer: “I think we all do it together.”