David Cloninger

Camp Insider: Hoke tight-lipped about USC defense

The reason most have picked as why South Carolina’s defense will be better in 2015 is, “Well, it couldn’t be much worse.”

Jon Hoke’s looking for substantially more.

But the new co-defensive coordinator’s not going to limit, or over-reach, his expectations.

“Just continue to coach assignment, alignment, technique and key,” Hoke said on Thursday, a week before the season-opener. “Those are the four things we need to make sure we’re sound in all of those areas, then continue to make sure we understand the importance of getting takeaways in the football game.”

Hoke’s not going to be glib about who starts, who sits, what’s working and what’s not. He’s as tight-lipped as Lorenzo Ward was an open book. That fits what USC’s defense needs to be this season, especially early – nobody needs to talk because nobody’s proven anything.

To a man, the defenders say they’re going to be better and they’re ready to get out there. And it’s going to be much better than, “well, we couldn’t be much worse.”

“I don’t know about confidence, I just know they’re excited to play,” Hoke said. “They know the game is coming up and I know everybody likes to get up ready to play a game, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”