David Cloninger

Camp Insider: Positive results for ‘different’ Gamecocks defense

USC tailback Shon Carson is tackled by linebacker Skai Moore during Saturday's scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
USC tailback Shon Carson is tackled by linebacker Skai Moore during Saturday's scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium. mbergen@thestate.com

The defense looked really good in scrimmages last year. A great defensive performance in this year’s scrimmages must be taken with a shaker of salt.

But it’s encouraging.

“The defense is different than in the past,” coach Steve Spurrier said after Saturday’s first scrimmage of the preseason. “Our guys tackled very well, all of them. They understand the leverage and they don’t dive at them.”

It was a relief to see pressure on the quarterbacks, players shedding blocks and wrapped tackles. Since it was a scrimmage, of course one group’s success comes at the expense of another group looking bad, but the defense more than held its own.

“Maybe Whammy bought off the referees,” Spurrier quipped of co-defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.

Spurrier thought he remembered just one missed tackle all day, when Shon Carson caught a pass and wormed through the crowd for a touchdown. The defenders switched their looks – while sticking with a 4-3 base, they sometimes had defensive backs playing almost on the line.

Again, young offensive line it was going against, only practice, think of last year. Nobody’s anointing Jon Hoke’s first group as ready to tee it up against North Carolina.

But it’s encouraging.

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